Resident Sentiment Study

Research Objectives

A key pillar of RTO12’s Regenerative Strategy is the development of a Regional Tourism Data Hub, which will collect ongoing and timely intelligence regarding the overall health of the tourism industry. This data is particularly important as the RTO12 launches programs to help the tourism industry and communities recover and rebuild with long-term sustainability front and centre

An online dashboard has been conceived to track business confidence, labour gaps & shortages, employee sentiment, resident sentiment, visitor sentiment and, eventually, environmental impact. A series of surveys will be launched to gather the benchmark intelligence to create the dashboard, which will be hosted on the RTO12 administrative site

This report presents the outcome of the first phase of a survey of residents of RTO 12 about their feelings toward the local tourism industry.  The objective of this survey is to gauge the level of local support for the industry and to identify potential areas of concern on the part of a key stakeholder audience

We recommend repeating this survey on an annual basis to track changes in sentiment over time, especially as key planks in RTO 12’s BOP are executed.


  • A telephone survey consisting of 19 tourism sentiment measures (15 “positive” sentiment measures and 4 “negative” sentiment measures) was deployed in the fall of 2022. There were 455 respondents from RTO 12
  • RTO 12 scores exceptionally well on tourism sentiment measures that indicate general acceptance of the industry and its impact on the community. For example, 92% of respondents said that overall tourism is good for their town while 91% say local tourism promotion benefits their community economically. An overwhelming majority, 80%, say the good outweighs the bad when it comes to tourism in the region
  • Only one ”negative” sentiment measure scored high: 82% of respondents say tourism contributes to traffic and parking problems. This is a universal complaint that is not unique to the region
  • Sentiment measures relating to the hyperlocal impact of tourism (overcrowding and noise) show the most pronounced polarity.  While 54% of respondents say the region has become overcrowded thanks to tourism, a large percentage, 43% strongly disagree. Similarly, while 40% of respondents say tourists cause too much noise, 55% strongly disagree
  • There was little variation in sentiment across the four major towns in the region with one exception:  Parry Sound respondents are scored higher on 5 of the “positive” sentiment measures, and they were more likely to score lower on the “negative” sentiment measures
  • Female respondents, while still positive, were generally less enthusiastic than males. They gave lower scores on 13 of the 15 “positive” sentiment measures and higher scores on 3 of the 4 “negative” sentiment measures
  • While all ages groups are generally very positive about tourism in the region, the youngest respondents (18-34) gave tourism its highest sentiment ratings