County Tourism Vigilantes

In baseball, its three strikes and you’re out. A taxpayer-financed organization has had three outs, but they’ll be allowed to stay in the batter’s box. Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island has a budget in the millions of dollars, but somehow it is not doing right by at least two municipalities and a business organization in the region.

The first to file a complaint was Leamington. At a public council meeting in the nation’s tomato capital, councilor John Jacobs chastised the region’s tourism promoters for giving his community short shrift. Jacobs had counted the number of mentions of Leamington in TWEPI’s new Windsor Essex Pelee Island Official Visitor Guide and found his town got too few mentions.

Next, eight business improvement areas in the county scraped up $70,000, a fraction of what TWEPI should be spending to promote the region. The money will be used to try and target Detroiters to visit their business areas.

And now, the Town of Essex has introduced its own tourism promotion website, Tourism Essex. The new website features a number of the town’s attractions, many of which are not among those publicized in TWEPI’s so-called guide.

In the TWEPI guide, listed under dining, only Ure’s Country Kitchen in Harrow is on display. Omitted are such options as DoCK 21, Billys Taphouse, and Beachside Eats and Treats, among many others. The guide’s section on wineries fails to mention Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, Erie Shore Vineyard, and Paglione Estate Winery.

Similar to Leamington, as The Square has reported, TWEPI seems to fail at mentioning all the unique attractions of a community. Leamington, too, has launched its own tourism website.

Other missing Essex attractions include the Essex Memorial Spitfire Monument, the South Essex Barn Quilt Trail, McGregor’s Music Festival and the Mug Run, the Colchester Schoolhouse – the first built under the Public Schools Act – and Sadler’s Nature Park.

In tourism, each attraction is a possible trigger to motivate tourists to visit. Leaving so many out of its Guide means TWEPI is missing the boat.

Laurie Brett, the Essex manager of communications, told The Square on July 25, that the goal of the website is, “… to highlight the things that make us unique, like our position on the 42nd parallel. And also to showcase the best we have to offer, like our wineries, lakefront, cycling trails, and heritage landmarks.”

With three strikes against it, there should be an investigation into TWEPI to find out why others are doing its job or why politicians are not happy with the job as it is being doing.

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi