Working with Us
Destination Ontario collaborates with stakeholders from across the tourism sector to increase tourism revenue and visitation in Ontario. We proactively engage with partners to optimize opportunities for industry participation in our dynamic, integrated, research-driven marketing campaigns, ongoing marketing activity, special events and impactful support programs.
Guided by its vision of positioning Ontario as a preferred global destination, Destination Ontario leads the marketing of Ontario provincially, nationally and internationally through activities that inspire travellers to experience Ontario.
To meaningfully connect Ontario’s tourism offerings with consumer wants and needs, Destination Ontario uses evidence-based consumer insights to inform marketing strategies and data insights and optimizations to learn and adapt. Through this visitor-first approach to understanding and engaging consumers, by providing value and inspiration at various phases along their path to purchase, Destination Ontario fulfills on its mandate to enhance tourism expenditures in Ontario and contribute to provincial economic prosperity.
Aligned to a strong Ontario brand, Destination Ontario works collaboratively with tourism partners across the province, including Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs), Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), sector associations, other provincial agencies, individual tourism operators, and Destination Canada. International marketing efforts are further supported through in-market representation.
Ontarians travelling within Ontario is a critically important market, accounting for over 80% of all visits and 50% of tourism revenues (pre-COVID-19). More than anyone else, Ontarians understand and appreciate the year-round travel experiences their home province offers. At the same time, research shows that more work needs to be done to combat a ‘been there, done that’ perception. To that end, Destination Ontario’s domestic marketing strategies speak to Ontarians’ pride of place by leveraging a strong tourism brand to highlight the province’s natural beauty, its diversity of outdoor activities, and its heritage and cultural experiences.
Destination Ontario also works with industry partners on a collaborative co-marketing approach that utilizes co-investments and combines Destination Ontario’s brand and expertise in creative, media and reporting with regional storytelling and product expertise. This year-round model has proven successful in driving incremental consideration for Ontario destinations and experiences.
COVID-19: Response & Recovery
At every stage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Destination Ontario’s marketing efforts have been and will continue to be implemented in lockstep with the Government of Ontario’s health and safety guidelines and protocols. Market plans are guided by the best possible market intelligence available to make timely and responsible decisions while remaining flexible and ready to shift as necessary.
Helping to guide the industry’s collective road to recovery is Destination Ontario’s multi-phased marketing strategy which works to increase consumer confidence, support the industry and once again influence consideration of Ontario as a preferred destination, starting with Ontarians and building towards welcoming back international high-yield travellers. With 2021 being the ‘Year of the Ontario Staycation’, the road to recovery begins by reminding all Ontarians, when it is safe to do so, to rediscover their Ontario. Destination Ontario, along with its partners across the province, will be at the forefront of this effort.
While other Canadian provinces have always been important source markets for travellers to Ontario, opportunities exist for incremental visitation and spend, particularly in light of post-COVID-19 recovery. Destination Ontario’s forward-looking, growth-minded strategy aims to target key Canadian drive and fly markets, prioritizing drive corridors from Quebec and Manitoba first through key product motivators and expanding into air travel markets as health and economic factors progress.
In addition, Destination Ontario has participated with Destination Canada in its national content and retail marketing efforts which began in response to COVID-19.
United States Market
Given its proximity to large U.S. drive and fly markets, the U.S. market has always been a vitally important growth market for tourism to Ontario, accounting for 9% of all visits and 17% of tourism revenues (pre-COVID-19). When the time is right, Destination Ontario will be ready to welcome back our friends from south of the border through an integrated and partnerable gateway strategy that targets key U.S. drive and fly markets, and positions Ontario’s urban centres and year-round experiences as easily accessible, must-visit destinations.
With awareness of Ontario higher among U.S. travellers from near-border drive markets, Destination Ontario is well positioned to capitalize on this familiarity and ‘rubber tire’ access to help fuel post-COVID-19 recovery. While awareness declines further from the border, Ontario remains an attractive short getaway destination with easy short-haul air access. Through a data-driven marketing strategy that recognizes the U.S. visitor’s unique needs, wants and behaviours, and thus leans into key travel motivators by specific drive and fly market, Destination Ontario aims to win the minds and hearts of this large and lucrative market.
Given the U.S. market’s size, attractiveness to competitors from around the globe, and high cost to advertise, partnerships with industry are key. Destination Ontario’s U.S. strategy includes co-marketing opportunities with Regional Tourism Organizations and destination marketing organization partners as well as participation in Destination Canada’s U.S. content and retail marketing efforts.
Destination Ontario works to position Ontario as a preferred global destination with a mission to increase visitation and visitor expenditures from priority markets in North America, Europe and Asia, thereby contributing to economic growth and prosperity. The International Marketing team aims to increase awareness of Ontario as a tourism destination, provide consumers with compelling reasons to choose Ontario, facilitate travel choices that include Ontario and encourage consumers to share Ontario travel experiences. Activities include consumer campaigns, working with the travel trade and inspiring travel and lifestyle media. Initiatives are often undertaken in partnership with Destination Canada to align with and leverage Canada’s national brand.
Northern Ontario’s unique experiences and stunning natural landscapes are key differentiators in Ontario’s tourism offering. In order to capitalize on this competitive advantage, Destination Ontario’s dedicated Northern Ontario team works with Northern tourism stakeholders on programs focused on increasing visitation and spend from domestic, Manitoba, Quebec and U.S. travellers.
Destination Ontario’s strategy focuses on two key traveller segments:
- Core: Avids with a focus on outdoor adventure, powersports and touring, angling and hunting
- Growth: Families looking for nature-based and lodge experiences, inspiring future avid travellers
Strong partnerships with Destination Northern Ontario, Northern destination marketing organizations, sector associations and individual tourism operators always have been and always will be the backbone of Destination Ontario’s efforts to promote the North. The ongoing goal of working in collaboration is to coordinate strategies, ensure efficient and effective use of marketing resources, and maximize the impact of marketing efforts.
Destination Ontario inspires consumers to choose Ontario for their travel plans and works with the travel trade in North America, Europe and Asia to develop new market-ready product and train/educate travel agents who help close the sale. They also provide Ontario suppliers with opportunities to take their product to market. A variety of integrated activities include tradeshows, sales missions, familiarization tours for both travel agents and tour operators, and training and consumer promotions with tour operators.
Destination Ontario is expanding how we deliver visitor information services through our Ontario Travel Information Centres and via our Travel Counsellors to meet changing visitor travel behaviours and better support the needs of Ontario’s tourism stakeholders.
The Ontario Travel Information Services Team actively promote and sell tourism products, experiences and services through customized travel planning. Our knowledgeable Travel Counsellors act as Ontario ambassadors, welcoming visitors and influencing travel patterns and expenditures. They provide customized, ‘locals know’ planning and travel counselling in-centre (including curbside pick up), by email, by telephone and in-person at local and regional events, agencies and attractions with the aim of helping visitors in Ontario create memorable, unique and authentic travel experiences.
To deliver new and modernized visitor information services, such as mobile and roaming visitor services, our Ontario Travel Information Services team is engaging industry partners to provide roaming travel counselling services at key tourism attractions, venues and events.
We invite tourism stakeholders to educate our Travel Counsellors about your business, destination or region and use our team as your go-to source for visitor intelligence and in-market consumer feedback.
Destination Ontario operates several Ontario Travel Information Centres located across the province. Click here for locations and hours of the in-person operation.
Ontario Travel Information Services programs and free opportunities are available such as attraction and event ticket sales, accommodations reservations, referrals to your tourism business, brochure distribution, merchandise sales and on-site presence at promotional events and attractions across the province. Also offered is digital, display and print advertising opportunities at the Ontario Travel Information Centres.