DMO Special Update: Stakeholder Engagement

by Rebecca Lamb,

The County continues to transition the work of tourism and destination marketing through the creation of a new Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). The next step in this process is stakeholder/sector engagement to inform the recruitment process for the inaugural board of directors.

A firm has been selected to lead stakeholder engagement following a recent request for proposals process. Dates have been set for a survey, stakeholder/sector consultation sessions, and an in-person public information and feedback session. Details of each are outlined here, and in our latest newsletter.

What to Expect

Through this phase of the stakeholder engagement process, The County seeks input from tourism industry stakeholders/sectors on the size, shape, and skills/experience/representation of the inaugural DMO board of directors, which will inform the recruitment process in late April 2022.

Decisions related to the new DMO's budget, strategy, marketing plans, staffing, and partnerships are all subject to future consultation once the inaugural board of directors is in place, and will not be addressed during these sessions. These future consultations are anticipated to take place in Spring 2022.

How to Participate

There are three options to participate in stakeholder engagement:

1) Complete a stakeholder/sector consultation survey
2) Attend a facilitated stakeholder/sector consultation session
3) Attend an in-person public information and feedback meeting

Stakeholder/Sector Consultation Survey

Feedback will be collected through a digital survey that will be posted by March 16 on the DMO page on Have Your Say and through the tourism industry channels (e-newsletter, Facebook, and Instagram.)

Facilitated Stakeholder/Sector Consultation Sessions

In addition to the survey, Stakeholder Engagement Facilitators have been hired to host eight consultation sessions (held over Zoom) categorized by sector. These sessions will contain the same information and questions as the digital survey, and allow for facilitated group discussion.

Each two-hour session has space for approximately 12 participants. Selected participants will provide a broad representation across each sector (ie. small and large operators, businesses from different geographic regions, new and established businesses, BIPOC owned/operated businesses, etc).

If you are interested in participating in a session, let us know by completing the form at the link below and selecting up to two sectors if applicable to your business (note: you will only be selected to participate in one of the selected sessions). Dates and times for these sessions have been set and are included in this email. Please express interest by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 15.

It is possible that not all who express interest and availability in a session will be selected to participate. If you are not selected or available for the session representing your sector(s), you will still be able to provide equally weighted feedback through the digital survey.

Express interest in participating in a session here: https://forms.gle/rbzyU26v7MnLXXNN7

Public Information & Feedback Meeting

On April 4, The County will host an in-person, town hall-style meeting for industry-adjacent stakeholders and residents that will address some of the early feedback from the consultation sessions and allow further opportunity for feedback.

The time and location will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Consultation Session Dates

Thursday, March 17 | 10 AM - Noon
Sector: Nature, Parks & Water

Friday, March 18 | 1 - 3 PM
Sector: Agritourism & Experiences

Tuesday, March 22 | 10 AM - Noon
Sector: Beverage

Tuesday, March 22 | 1 - 3 PM
Sector: Food & Culinary

Wednesday, March 23 | 10 AM - Noon
Sector: Attractions (ie. Wellness, History/Heritage, Festivals/Events, Weddings)

Wednesday, March 23 | 1 - 3 PM
Sector: Accommodations

Thursday, March 24 | 10 AM - Noon
Sector: Arts & Entertainment


Thursday, March 24 | 1 - 3 PM
Sector: Retail

FAQs

What is the purpose of this phase of consultation?

This round of consultation is required to establish the legal filing of the Municipal Services Corporation that will act as the DMO. Public consultation as well as a case study and a municipal by-law is required to allow the corporation to exist. If /when these are passed at Council will consider this by-law at a special meeting on Thursday, April 14 and, if approved, the legal filing can proceed and the corporation will formally exist.

When will we get to provide input on the marketing, operations, and other details of the DMO?

Decisions related to the new DMO's budget, strategy, marketing plans, by-laws, policies and partnerships are all subject to future consultation once the inaugural board of directors is in place, and will not be addressed during this phase of consultation. These future consultations are anticipated to take place in Spring 2022.

How can I participate in a facilitated consultation session?

If you are interested and available to answer the survey questions during a facilitated Zoom session with a group of your sector peers, please submit a request to attend here: https://forms.gle/Jjd2gHamRY4iCDa49. You will be notified either way, no later than Wednesday, March 16.

How are session participants selected?

All requests to attend will be reviewed and those selected will represent a diversity of voices within that sector. For example: new and established businesses, central and rural businesses, large and small operations, BIPOC owned/operated businesses, etc.

What if I don't get into a session?

Tourism stakeholders not interested or unable to attend a session can still provide feedback through a digital survey that includes the same questions covered in the sessions. The survey link will be shared and posted on Have Your Say and through The County's communication channels by Wednesday, March 16. Feedback collected through the survey and sessions are equally weighted.

Why can't there be more people per session?

Each session can have up to 12 stakeholder / sector participants. This will allow time and space for everyone to share and be heard within the two-hour session.

Could there be more sessions?

These 8 sessions covering various tourism sectors are within the scope of funds and timeline leading up to the April 14 special meeting of Council. There will be additional consultation opportunities on the new DMO's by-laws, policies, values and operations in the next phase of the project.

What am I missing by just completing the survey?

Stakeholder / sector feedback collected through the survey and the consultation sessions are equally weighted. Consultation sessions are facilitated by a third party and information is shared and discussed between sector peers.

Why isn't the notice/consultation period longer?

We are working efficiently this spring to transition the DMO work from the municipality to the new DMO in a way that avoids any gap in services provided to the sector. This timeline allows us to ensure the new DMO is legally established, and able to recruit for directors and staff in time for the 2022 tourism season.

When do the residents and/or businesses not directly within the tourism sector get to provide feedback on the DMO?

Those affected by tourism but not actively part of the tourism sector are invited to share their questions and comments on Have Your Say or by contacting tourism@pecounty.on.ca. An in-person public information and feedback session will be held for residents and those not directly within the tourism sector on Monday, April 4. Details will be shared on Have Your Say and through The County's communication channels in late March.

How do local organizations & associations related to tourism fit into this?

Representatives of local organizations and associations related to tourism are welcome to submit a request to participate in a facilitated consultation session related to their sector. If you are interested in having an information session for your members/association/organization please contact tourism@pecounty.on.ca.

What advice will the consultants give in the final report?

The Stakeholder Engagement Facilitators' role is to collect informed stakeholder/sector feedback, and summarize what they hear. This summary will influence the recruitment process for the inaugural DMO board of directors by way of the staff report going to Council on April 14. The consultants are not hired to provide their personal advice or recommendations.

Any additional questions or concerns can be sent to tourism@pecounty.on.ca

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