Destination Development Strategy

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A white male adult builds a sandcastle with two white female children on a summer day at Sandbanks Beach

Help shape the future of tourism in Prince Edward County

The County of Prince Edward is forming a 5-7 year Destination Development Strategy that will outline a path toward making The County a more resilient and sustainable destination, one that better addresses the well-being of residents, businesses, visitors and the environment for the long term.

To build this strategy, staff worked with Bannikin Travel & Tourism, a consultancy specializing in sustainable tourism development, to understand challenges and opportunities in the community, and define priorities in the short- and long-term.

The strategy was presented to Committee of the Whole in July 2021.

Please note this is a separate strategy and process from the Tourism Management Plan, which is specifically addressing challenges posed by summertime visitors and prioritizing areas of concern in time for summer 2021.

Prince Edward County residents were invited to share feedback on the long-term development of the tourism sector in The County, and provided input on how the strategy might ensure success for residents, businesses and visitors alike. The survey was open until February 24, 2021.

An online Public Information Session about the Destination Development Master Plan was held March 2.

Help shape the future of tourism in Prince Edward County

The County of Prince Edward is forming a 5-7 year Destination Development Strategy that will outline a path toward making The County a more resilient and sustainable destination, one that better addresses the well-being of residents, businesses, visitors and the environment for the long term.

To build this strategy, staff worked with Bannikin Travel & Tourism, a consultancy specializing in sustainable tourism development, to understand challenges and opportunities in the community, and define priorities in the short- and long-term.

The strategy was presented to Committee of the Whole in July 2021.

Please note this is a separate strategy and process from the Tourism Management Plan, which is specifically addressing challenges posed by summertime visitors and prioritizing areas of concern in time for summer 2021.

Prince Edward County residents were invited to share feedback on the long-term development of the tourism sector in The County, and provided input on how the strategy might ensure success for residents, businesses and visitors alike. The survey was open until February 24, 2021.

An online Public Information Session about the Destination Development Master Plan was held March 2.

Ask a question about the Destination Development Strategy

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    please have the staff working on the plan, and the consultant look at other tourism plans and regions that have experienced similar tourism growth on a limited landscape. In Ontario such examples are Wasaga Beach/Collingwood and Orillia/Lake Simcoe, in North America communities as Sevierville TN, Biloxi MS, and the Wisconsin Dells all come to mind. Don't attempt to reinvent the wheel when this situation has been repeated and dealt with by other municipalities many times over.

    review other plans asked 5 months ago

    Thanks, anonymous commenter! Bannikin has looked at several locations around Ontario and the US that, like The County, deal with an influx of seasonal tourist to a rural destination. They've also looked at several global destinations that are incorporating more ambitious environmental targets and certification. 

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    Is Point Petre being monitored? Last year there was a lot of garbage, no garbage cans, and illegal camping....

    Katowake asked 5 months ago

    Point Petre is managed by the province, meaning the municipality does not have the authority to issue tickets there, nor does it have the bandwidth to take on management of garbage or illegal camping. We realize this is frustrating for residents, these sort of boundaries, as the goal is one of conservation and we should be working together toward that goal. Point Petre continues to be a topic of conversation with provincial partners, specifically how warden oversight might be added there.

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    Good day. I am not now from the county but have been. I am local tho. We enjoy camping and are so many places in the county for that. Problem is out of towners have the campsites all booked and we dont have a chance.Just my thoughts thanks

    Paul asked 8 months ago

    Frustrating, for sure. I'm sorry you were disappointed. The Ontario Parks system seems to have been inundated. The best I can suggest is to put yourself on a wait list for private campgrounds, in the case of cancellation. Hopefully by Summer 2022, as the vaccine is distributed and travel beyond our borders isn't seen as so risky, there won't be as much competition for limited spaces.

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    How is council going to attract business that meet local needs (key is that they are affordable to locals who often don’t have the disposable income of tourists). The more tourism increases the more the rents and taxes for businesses increase making it less feasible to create a profitable business that locals can afford to use). Also how can we balance the possible needs of locals for big box stores vs the impact to local small businesses (eg dollar store in food land plaza with picton dollar store down the street). Lastly can we prioritize walk ability and non car transportation options (eg have parking lots behind business so walk ins don’t have to walk through lot) and bike lanes or other forms of shared ride services.

    Zed asked 8 months ago

    Thanks, Zed. Lots of good questions here and good suggestions too. Some of these issues are related to tourism, some of them are related to planning and zoning and 'economic development,' or how we grow our communities in ways that provide good jobs, services and sustainability and won't be included in this Strategy. Thanks for your input! 

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    Will a few of the smaller local beaches be for locals only? Tourism is important, but locals are year round community supporters!

    Lori asked 7 months ago

    Hi Lori,

    The Tourism Management Plan (which is separate from this Strategy) recommends that Wellington Rotary Beach be free for anyone holding a day pass, which will be available from Shire Hall and the PEC library branches. Our intention is to have these passes available at the beginning of May, when the current COVID-related shutdown ends.

    Visitors will still be able to access the beach, and anyone without a pass will be required to pay $10 per person for entry. This is to help offset the costs related to additional staffing, fencing, gates and other infrastructure needed to manage volumes.

    Cheers,
    Karen

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    I realize that this is not directly a County issue but in winter people often try and go for walks at Sandbanks. Because the gates are closed it can be a long way for an elderly person, who might enjoy a walk along the beach, to actually get there. I realize that the County has become a year-round destination, but perhaps in the off-season businesses that are open could find ways to encourage local residents to use them. (Most living here avoid all those destinations ... including downtown Picton LOL in the summer.)

    Kathleen asked 7 months ago

    Hi Kathleen, 

    You raise a really good point - once we're past the immediate issues facing us for summer 2021, we're hoping to speak with the province about what would need to happen to make Sandbanks and/or North Beach available year-round. 

    Cheers,
    Karen

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    With tourism making an essential contribution to the County’s economy, why is Council proposing and supporting so many initiatives and fees that will drive tourists away or make visiting the County an unpleasant experience?

    Linda Tuck Chapman asked 7 months ago

    Hi Linda,

    I'm not sure which initiatives and fees you're referring to precisely, but the Tourism Management Plan (which is different than this Strategy) put forward to Council proposed a number of actions to help manage visitor volumes and fund staff time and maintenance costs related to hosting visitors. This includes managing traffic and parking, visitor numbers at Wellington Rotary Beach, and impact on municipal parks and Main Street areas. While these actions aren't meant to be unwelcoming, they are meant to encourage visitors to 'do the right thing,' ie park where it's permitted, as opposed to where it creates traffic snarls; to plan ahead for their holidays and make reservations where possible; and to help offset costs related to managing numbers at the beach.

    I'm sorry you see this as unwelcoming - it's our hope that by helping to better manage visitor volumes, it'll lead to a better experience for guests AND residents.

    Cheers,
    Karen

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    Have been wondering about locals getting a huge discount on tourism related to do's in the county like wineries, beach, golf, restaurants. California and Florida tourist areas do this. We should too!

    Rene asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for this suggestion, Rene! It's something worth passing on to our friends at the Chamber of Commerce and the local business improvement groups. Cheers, Karen

Page last updated: 22 July 2021, 12:50