WATERLOO REGION, Ont. — Explore Waterloo Region has unveiled the Waterloo Region Tourism Master Plan, which provides a roadmap for the future of the region’s visitor economy by 2030. Its goal is to position Waterloo Region as one of Ontario’s most dynamic and connected destinations for the leisure, business-events and sport-hosting markets.
“Tourism is an important contributor to the local economy,” says Michele Saran, CEO of Explore Waterloo Region. “The focus of this new plan is to build our destination brand to drive tourism revenue growth, which benefits all residents of our region. In addition to supporting local employment, the tax dollars associated with tourism spending are reinvested into things like education, healthcare, and housing.”
Collaboration will be critical to the success of the Waterloo Region Tourism Master Plan. While Explore Waterloo Region will take the lead role in coordinating the various elements of the plan and the tracking of its implementation, its overall success will require close co-operation between the Region of Waterloo, municipalities, townships and Explore Waterloo Region, as well as many tourism industry stakeholders and economic development partners.
“Waterloo EDC works closely with Explore Waterloo Region to ensure the region continues to attract new and innovative tourism products and experiences in an effort to encourage growth of our visitor economy,” says Tony LaMantia, president & CEO of Waterloo EDC. “As strategic partners in the Waterloo Region Tourism Master Plan we will ensure tourism is considered a growth sector when planning, developing policy and promoting Waterloo Region.”
Five Growth Pillars have been identified in the plan which reflect the most significant growth and improvement opportunities for Waterloo Region. They are brand, product, access, sustainability, and communication and alignment.
“Our greatest strength, as a destination, lies in the diversity of our geography and our people, and our unique blend of urban and rural vitality,” shares Tracy Van Kalsbeek, Board Chair for Explore Waterloo Region. “Having this new, comprehensive tourism plan in place will further guide everyone’s work and help mark our progress.”
The Waterloo Region Tourism Master Plan was developed during the second half of 2022 with the participation of the region’s tourism stakeholders, municipal authorities and partner agencies. The consulting firm FLOOR13 was contracted to lead the Tourism Master Plan’s development effort.
The Tourism Master Plan aligns with the plans of the regional and municipal governments, economic development, and tourism industry groups including the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and the local Regional Tourism Office (RTO4).
The entire Waterloo Region Tourism Master Plan is available here.