Thompson Chamber of Commerce president Raj Thethy and vice-president Keith MacDonald appeared before city council Jan. 20, asking for the city’s support in implementing the tourism action plan prepared by Community Future North Central Development in 2018.
That plan identified seven priority areas, including leadership, funding, marketing, infrastructure development, product development, hospitality training and community pride and beautification.
One of the most important priorities is to establish a destination marketing organization that can serve as a one-stop shop for tourists with questions about services and products in Thompson.
“It’s not that we don’t have attractions here. We do,” said Thethy. “We are not marketing what we have here.”
MacDonald said having a centralized destination marketing office that can direct visitors and potential visitors to hotels and other amenities would also enable Thompson to market more effectively by gathering data, for example, on where Churchill-bound train tourists are coming from.
“We need to have an organization that is independent that will take charge of the tourism industry,” Thethy said.
Kolada said the now defunct Norman Regional Development Corporation was funded by per capita contributions from communities within the region it served and that a centralized marketing office is needed.
Deputy mayor Les Ellsworth said the City of Thompson cannot create such an organization by itself but can work as part of a larger group.
Mayor Colleen Smook said the city recognizes the benefits of tourism.
“We can definitely be supportive and make sure we get the word out there for you,” she said.