Who Are We?
RTO4 is one of 13, self-governed destination development organizations within the Province of Ontario who receive funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport. RTO4’s territory covers the area of Huron, Perth and Wellington Counties and Waterloo Region.
Our vision at RTO4 is to provide exceptional and innovative regional tourism development that empowers communities through advocacy and engagement with different partners in the tourism industry and we strive to improve the quality of life of residents through the economic benefits of tourism. We believe that great places to live are great places to visit. You can find out more about us on our website at www.rto4.ca
In previous years, the University of Waterloo had completed two phases of introductory research. They held interviews, speaking with a small group of residents and business owners regarding their sense of place within the Village. Sense of place is a term used to describe how an individual understands their experience of a place or environment.
RTO4 partnered with UW to complete another phase of research in the Fall of 2022, bringing in internationally recognized consultants Clarity of Place to lend their expertise and facilitate two sets of community workshops and a digital workbook.
Through this community consultation these were the top 5 themes identified as concerns affecting the community’s future:
1. Business interests being valued over resident concerns
2. Residents feeling unheard or left out of the process of development
3. Fear of losing St. Jacobs unique character
4. Growth and Congestion
5. Climate threats and environmental degradation
This resident survey is the next step in addressing the concerns that residents were feeling left out of the process of community development and that there was a lack of communication to the residents from the tourism industry within St. Jacobs. We hope to be able to engage a large number of residents through this effort and also collect the contact information for residents interested in being further involved.
Our objectives for collecting this survey data are:
1. To understand a greater number of residents’ sentiments towards the tourism industry within the St. Jacobs Village.
2. To get a better sense of the avenues residents use to access information to do with tourism and community development.
3. To recognize residents’ visions for harnessing the economic benefits of tourism for opportunities to benefit the community.
Following the collection and analysis of this data, the key messaging will be shared with destination development partners to understand residents’ sentiments and visions for St Jacobs Village. We will also hold a community meeting in the Village to share the findings in the Fall and discuss some of the next steps on how the information will be used.
Lastly, we want to take a moment to highlight the different partners we work with on destination development projects:
– The Residents and Community Groups of the St. Jacobs Village,
– Local Tourism Businesses,
– The St. Jacobs Village Business Improvement Association or BIA,
– The Township of Woolwich,
– Explore Waterloo Region, the local, Destination Marketing Organization
If you’d like to get more information on previous rounds of research please check out the webpage here. And if you have any further questions please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and we look forward to hearing your feedback!