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Peter Howey, chair of the Fort Frances Municipal Accommodation Tax Committee, speaks to Fort Frances town council, April 22, 2024. Screen shot

Committee outlines local tourism marketing initiatives

By Randy Thoms May 1, 2024 | 4:46 PM

There is a lot of work going on to help market Fort Frances.

The Fort Frances Municipal Accommodation Tax Committee has identified some of those objectives.

The group is a committee of the Rainy River District Future Corporation and advises on how its share of taxes placed on motel and hotel room rentals should be used.

The committee includes representatives from hoteliers, amateur sports associations, key event organizers and others.

During the pandemic, when hotel/motel room rentals dropped because of closures and travel restrictions, any money collected was held to assist in the recovery efforts.

Some small promotions were done that focused on attracting visitors from other parts of northwestern Ontario.

Some key marketing initiatives were also developed.

Chair Peter Howey says most of their marketing to date has been social media campaigns.

“We’ve had good success with Facebookand we’ve run paid ads throughout the year. In the last month, our ad from Destination Fort Frances reached over 325,000 viewers in our target areas,” says Howey.

“In 2020, 412,000 people clicked through that ad to go straight to our Fort Frances website.”

This year, a golfing campaign launched with Google ads and a banner on Golf Digest’s webpage.

The group has also partnered with Ontario’s Sunset County, which includes attendance at the Duluth Trade Show.

An advertising display is also up at the Falls International Airport.

Howey says a new tourism brochure is being developed for this year.

“This will be made available at the border, and we intend to hire a person who can essentially (distribute) the brochure.”

Howey says they have also formalized a grant application process to support tourism events and a financial assistance package to defray labour acquisition costs for hoteliers and or to help them invest in new technologies.

They are also working with the Fort Frances Museum on two new tours for this summer.

“We’ve started working thoughtfully to support tourism projects with neighbouring First Nations, and we hope to have some joint promotional opportunities to announce soon. We’ve also established a fund to support small businesses interested in building an ice shack rental business on Rainy Lake.”

The MAT committee is also looking to market Fort Frances as an ideal location to host a conference.