Project Name: Urban Destination Development – Guelph

Guelph – a major university city – has a vibrant and 3-dimensional downtown and is primarily known as a music, festival and event destination, with some elements of sports tourism. There is the opportunity to work together to leverage these core assets in a sustainable manner. RTO4 will continue to support the City of Guelph as they transition from a DMO to a DMMO and will focus on strengthening the group of stakeholders that are willing to contribute to the shared vision.


For the past three years a wide group of engaged stakeholders, including the Mayor, DMO, Chamber of Commerce, BIA and tourism operators and organizers have 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 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.

Year two and three of the Guelph destination development project focused on implementation of collaborative projects to achieve the aforementioned goals.  The following projects were achieved in the last fiscal year:

  • Economic Impact of Tourism Study
  • 1-1 coaching to increase the digital sophistication of three festivals
  • Video creation and distribution with two festivals
  • Free WiFi pilot at one festival
  • Music City Symposium and White Paper
  • Daytime music in the downtown series
  • Quebec St. Micro destination marketing and animation

The next year will capitalize on the momentum to date and continue implementing collaborative projects to achieve the four strategic goals.

2018/2019 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.

Key Activities

  • Work with festivals and events to improve their digital presence
  • Develop and implement one collaborative festival and event project
  • Launch the Guelph Destination Animation Partnership Process

For more details on this project, please visit the 2018/2019 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 38-39.