Discovering Ontario: A report on the future of tourism

In February 2009, the Government of Ontario released Discovering Ontario: A report on the future of tourism.This report provides four broad strategic proposals and 20 specific recommendations to revitalize and grow tourism in the province.

Discovering Ontario is the result of the comprehensive Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study led by Greg Sorbara, the MPP for Vaughan and former Finance Minister.

The new world of tourism is ripe with opportunity. But tourism continues to face long- and short-term challenges, including a strong Canadian dollar, a slowing U.S. economy, changing demographics and greater global competition. If Ontario is to improve its market share, we need to be smarter and more innovative in how we work.

The goal of the Competitiveness Study was to research the state of tourism in Ontario and review best practices in North America and around the world.

It used an extensive consultation process, including input from the tourism industry as well as the broader business sector, financiers and investors, the hospitality industry, the academic and research communities and the travelling public in every region of the province. To that end:

  • In May 2008, the government issued a discussion document to stimulate debate and input from the public and industry.
  • During the summer and fall of 2008, Sorbara and his study team toured the province to meet informally with stakeholders and the public.
  • In September and October 2008, 13 formal public consultation meetings were held across the province. More than 500 stakeholders participated.
  • Stakeholder groups made close to 200 written or on-line submissions.
  • Supporting research — 13 external studies — were commissioned to better understand the broader issues that have an impact on tourism and to help inform the recommendations of the report. Each study examined a particular issue, from global trends to the impact of our current festivals on the economy.