Project Name: Heritage Destination Development – Elora and Fergus


Since April 2015, RTO4 has been working with Mayor Kelly Linton and CAO Andy Goldie of Centre Wellington, Pearle Hospitality and a broad spectrum of tourism stakeholders under DMAI’s DestinationNEXT consultation model to collaborate on realizing the vision of becoming ‘Ontario’s idyllic experience showcasing the heritage town, the unique natural setting, and the wealth of arts and culture.’

The Tourism Strategy outlines six initiatives.

  • Illuminate the Natural and Heritage Assets
  • Strengthen the Tourism Product Offering
  • Increasing the market readiness of festivals & events
  • Enhancing accommodation capacity & quality
  • Improving “hygiene factors” such as parking, washrooms etc.
  • Increasing community involvement and support

2017 focused on implementing collaborative projects to achieve the goals above. A committee of tourism stakeholders including township staff has been created to achieve the initiatives outlined. Projects achieved completion to date include.

  • Monthly meetings with the respective committees which include approximately 40 tourism stakeholders.
  • A Festival Workshop to encourage collaboration and networking.
  • A Green Festival Project to reduce water bottle usage at Festivals and Events.
  • A ‘Dare to Dream’ workshop in February 2017 with 22 tourism stakeholders.
  • Implementation of the Destination Animation Fund

Moving forward, new projects will be executed to capture the momentum to date. The committees will continue to implement collaborative projects to achieve the initiatives outlined above such as expanding the Storyboard Project to tie in natural and heritage assets and a FAM tour for accommodators to educate them on activities in the region among others.

2017/2018 Objectives

OBJECTIVE #1 – Work with the DestinationNEXT committees on local projects to improve the visitor experience in Elora and Fergus.
– Facilitate workshops to address issues identified through the Visitor Satisfaction, motivation and behavior research and the Elora and Fergus Destination Digital Audit commissioned by RTO4.
– Increase the digital skillset and capacity of key/select tourism operators and organizations by continually measuring progress of digital sophistication efforts to provide data driven tools and tactics

Key Activities

  • Continue facilitating sub-committee meetings to support information and resource sharing, greater collaboration on locally led tourism projects and capacity building within the community, creation and prioritization of action plan items.
  • Collaborate with tourism stakeholders and potentially with external digital agencies to amplify destination animation projects via coordinated efforts with local ambassadors, earned media, social media and conventional media
  • Introduce the Google 360 Project to operators in Elora and Fergus to improve the visibility of Elora and Fergus as a destination online.

In partnership with University of Waterloo, collect and input data on all visitor-facing web and social media assets across all tourism sectors throughout the destination to create a benchmark of the destination’s digital sophistication and performance.

For more details on this project, please visit the 2017 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 24-27 (PDF 1.4MB).