Project Name:  Urban Destination Development – Waterloo (Tech Tourism)


In 2011 RTO4 commissioned a study to determine the viability of developing the Meetings, Conventions and Incentive travel market.  The study by HLT Advisory Inc. noted there is a glut of convention facilities surrounding RTO4 at sub-market rates and that the region does not have a convention center, and was not about to build one.

While the region does not have a strength in general Meetings, Conventions and Incentive, further review brings to light the destination strength the Region has in high tech – in particular its reputation across North America as a tech Centre where like-minded business leaders congregate to advance research and products.

Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge’s close proximity to Pearson International Airport, world-class post-secondary institutions (University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College), surplus amenities and services, and its high concentration of tech innovation allows it to cut through the marketing clutter.

In addition, Waterloo Region, often awarded the Smart City designation, is home to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the world-renowned Institute for Quantum Computing, Accelerator Centre, Communitech, and RIM.  This strength paired with a tech-supportive government, evident in their investment through economic development, has led to initial conversations and realized partnerships with Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (WREDC) and Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation (WRTMC).  The first year of this project is focused on building partnerships first with frontline partners (WREDC, WRTMC and the University of Waterloo), then secondary partners, and creating a plan to realize the major potential of this market.

2017/2018 Objectives

OBJECTIVE #1 – Build a destination network of key stakeholders and develop consensus on Destination DNA.

OBJECTIVE #2 – Investigate collaborative projects that would capitalize on the tech tourism opportunity.

Key Activities

  • Facilitate meetings with key partners in order to build partnerships and establish roles and responsibilities moving forward.
  • Prepare project overviews of potential collaborative projects.

For more details on this project, please visit the 2017 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 34-35 (PDF 1.4MB).