Comment 86420

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:50:09

From Tourism Hamilton's Premier Ranked Tourist Destinations Framework study (November 2005):

Defining Hamilton’s Current Tourism Status
The PRTDF final report captures a broad range of quantifiable, qualitative and anecdotal data designed to describe Hamilton’s tourism industry as accurately and thoroughly as possible. In fact, the PRTDF represents the most comprehensive and insightful analysis ever of not just Hamilton’s tourism industry, but of the tourism sectors of almost every Ontario community participating in the process. The collected data provide the platform for fact-based, but subjective ratings on a three-point scale in response to almost one hundred different questions. Answers to these questions are all one of YES,
ALMOST or NO, representing achievement, progress or challenge, respectively. By far the majority of Hamilton’s answers fall into the ALMOST category, reflecting a tourism market that has much to be proud of, but much still to accomplish.

Hamilton’s middle-of-the-road status – reflected in the predominance of the ALMOST rating – is the defining characteristic of the PRTDF findings. While Hamilton clearly has a number of significant tourism strengths and weaknesses, these do not dominate the local tourism landscape. Hamilton’s tourism industry, in fact, currently has no discernable brand in the marketplace. Instead, the City is in the unique position of being able to shape its own tourism future in an absence of factors, attractors or influences that would force movement in any particular direction. This “almost” status may seem problematic; it certainly could be. On the other hand, it represents a great opportunity for tourism in the City Hamilton. With the PRTDF as a catalyst, Hamilton’s tourism stakeholders have the ability to affect powerful change and drive the tourism agenda according to a well-planned and well-informed strategic direction.

Tourism Value
The PRTDF found that Hamilton consistently offers value for the tourist dollar. This would clearly make Hamilton not just an attractive staging ground for day trips into the more expensive markets of Niagara Falls and Toronto, but also an accessible supplementary tourism option to those dominant markets. On the other hand, Hamilton’s value proposition translates into lower tourism revenues, resulting in less money to invest in program enhancement, facility development and marketing. Part of Hamilton’s tourism strategy needs to be a well-conceived plan to retain its attractive value proposition while enhancing the City’s ability to attract up-market visitors by offering the type of attractions, accommodations, shopping and dining that will inspire longer stays and greater spending.

Visitor Spending
In a finding that is clearly linked to tourism value (above) and holding visitor interest (below), the PRTDF reveals that visitor spending in Hamilton is startlingly below the provincial averages for all types of travel. This statistic represents an enormous opportunity for tourism in Hamilton. For most tourism areas, attracting visitors and tourists is likely the biggest challenge in expanding the market. In Hamilton, however, the tourism industry and the City could experience a significant economic boost without attracting a single additional visitor, simply by increasing visitor spending. Any tourism development strategy should have that target as one of its primary goals.

Holding Visitor Interest
Hamilton suffers from a lack of a wide range of memorable core experiences that would make it easier to keep people engaged for more than a single day. The findings of the PRTDF indicate that visitors to Hamilton can generally experience everything they want to without having to stay overnight. This speaks to the niche character of Hamilton’s tourism industry, but also represents an opportunity for the City to have a dramatic impact by holding visitors’ interest just a little longer. By creating and/or marketing tourism offerings that could extend a visitor’s stay by just a few hours, Hamilton could trigger a dramatic increase in visitor spending, with all of the accompanying benefits of that change.

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