Project Name:  Urban Destination Development – Guelph


For the past two years, a wide group of engaged stakeholders, including the Mayor, DMO, Chamber of Commerce, BIA and tourism operators and organizers, has been taking an active role in shaping their collective tourism future in Guelph.  As part of Year 1, the steering committee came together every 6-8 weeks through the DestinationNEXT process (facilitated by InterVISTAS Consulting Firm) to determine a strategy based on its core DNA and tourism assets.

The group aligned around the following four strategic goals:

  • Steward the Guelph story
  • Strengthen Guelph’s reputation as the premier festivals and events destination
  • Build a downtown Guelph destination
  • Investigate and grow the sports tourism opportunity

In 2016/17, year two of the Guelph destination development project focused on implementing collaborative projects to achieve the aforementioned goals.  The following projects were completed:

  • Economic Impact of Tourism Study
  • 1-1 coaching to increase the digital sophistication of three festivals (Hillside Festival, Eden Mills Writers Festival and the Guelph Dance Festival)
  • Video creation and distribution with two festivals
  • Free Wi-Fi pilot in partnership with Hillside Festival
  • Music City Symposium and White Paper in partnership with The Guelph Chamber of Commerce
  • Music Weekends project in partnership with Downtown Guelph Business Association

The next year will capitalize on the momentum to date. The group will continue implementing collaborative projects to achieve the four strategic goals to reach its vision (to be the premiere destination for festivals, events, and sports) by offering exceptional visitor experiences and leveraging core assets such as the downtown.

2017/2018 Objectives

OBJECTIVE #1 – Grow Guelph’s reputation as the Premier Festival and Events destination.

OBJECTIVE #2 – Facilitate and collaborate on destination development projects to animate the downtown and improve the visitor experience.

OBJECTIVE #3 – Increase research-based tourism decision-making capacity.

Key Activities

  • Work with festivals and events (including but not limited to Hillside Festival, Kazoo, GAIN, Kaleidoscope Music, Silence) to improve their digital presence through 1-1 coaching, digital audits, and capturing professional video and photograph content
  • Implement a pilot project on creating a micro-destination in Guelph using Quebec Street as the case study. Partner with Visit Guelph, Downtown Guelph Business Association, and the group of stakeholders on Quebec Street (approximately 18) to determine, prioritize and plan collaborative projects
  • Investigate Music City opportunities
  • Finalize the research methodology and begin data collection for the second year of the economic impact of tourism study.

For more details on this project, please visit the 2017 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 30-33 (PDF 1.4MB).