Beyond Tourism Assets Inventory

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We appreciate the value of knowing what we have and having a way to share this with partners who are less familiar with the region. At the same time, these types of studies tend to lack the subtleties required to understand why visitors are attracted to the region. They are often expensive to complete and forgotten almost as soon as they are done since most are not shared publicly or kept up to date.

That aside, there are three main issues with how traditional inventories are used that we’re trying to avoid as we grow our destination.

First, the focus on what’s missing instead of what we have. Many inventories are used primarily as a starting point for a gap analysis and identifying new investment opportunities. We’re looking for opportunities to build up what we have, support hidden gems and develop new products that complement what is currently available in our region.

Inventories can help in the development of new packages or itineraries, but we find that their value is limited in developing destinations like ours. It’s difficult to catch the smaller details, like personalities and target markets, in an inventory. Packages and itineraries don’t exist in a vacuum, they require a shared guest and a personal connection between the operators to be successful. We’re looking for opportunities for operators to get to know each other so that we can create better packages. We also need to put our ideal guest at the centre of any development initiative to create cohesive itineraries rather than collections of things to do.

Finally, most inventory projects are done with the intent of attracting capital investment to the region. There is a time and place for this, but in our experience, this misses the biggest opportunity to develop destinations like ours. We’re looking for local champions: passionate individuals who are investing their time to develop their tourism products.

The list we use in our personas and itineraries is structured around our ideal guests. It starts by considering why they want to visit our region and what they want to experience while they are here. The inventory of tourism products available is then broken down based on how they engage with the destination.

There are many more products and assets that could be included. The reasons why we chose not to include them are typically dues to a lack of availability (e.g. businesses operating on a casual basis) or because they mostly appeal to a different market than ours. We’ve also chosen to exclude assets that exist primarily for the enjoyment of the community, like the skating rink at the community hall, since these are built and maintained by locals for locals.

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