Established in 2010, Explorers’ Edge (EE) is one of thirteen Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) representing stakeholders in the geographic areas of Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka, Parry Sound and South Algonquin, Ontario, Canada.
The region is located on the traditional lands and waterways of the Anishinabek, Algonquin, Métis and Mohawk peoples, and is part of the Robinson Huron (1850) and Williams (1923) Treaties territory.
This Business and Operational Plan (BOP22-23) outlines RTO12’s annual strategy; provides a brief background on the status of the organization and the regional tourism industry into the third year of the global pandemic; and identifies specifies goals, activities, timelines, performance measures and budget that have been established. The BOP22-23 priorities were finalized by the Board of Directors during a regular meeting of the Board that was held online on February 8, 2021.
Though the regional tourism industry continues to face substantial challenges due
to the ongoing detrimental effects of the global pandemic and the intermittent and
disruptive travel restrictions that ensue, this part of Ontario — that which we call ‘the
great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto’ in branded marketing efforts —
continues to be in demand with travellers, if not even more so since the pandemic
began and rural destinations increased in popularity. That’s good news for most,
though not all, of our regional tourism businesses, which are still recovering from two
years of Covid-19 fallout.
From a corporate perspective, the previous fiscal year was extremely productive for RTO12 in terms of launching its new Regenerative Tourism Strategy and re-positioning as a Destination Development Organization (see BOP21-22 for more details).
As a result, this current BOP will restate major programs that were instigated in the previous year and are in now a developmental trajectory, with the expectation that these initiatives will lead to the entrenchment of sustainability for the organization itself and the region as a whole in the years to come. Fiscal BOP 22-23 carries with it the intention of continuing to move forward with these greater objectives for the recovery, resilience, and endurance of the local tourism industry.
The biggest obstacle to full recovery continues to be substantial gaps in the labour market; the need to attract and retain workers is at an all time high, and not just in this region. Limited affordable housing supply, particularly in a market that became increasingly commodified over the past two years, is also highly problematic.
To that end, workforce development remains a major area of concentration for RTO12. Significant projects are now underway to ensure success, including the introduction of a Regional Data Hub, the micro-credential online training and job recruitment program, and the next phase of the “Explorers’ Edge Catalyst Housing” project, all of which are facets of the organization’s long-standing Workforce Thrusters Strategy.
In 2022-2023, RTO12 will continue the vision to build a resilient and thriving regional tourism industry by keeping regenerative principles at the forefront of all its endeavours.