The Fergus Elora Bed & Breakfast Association (FEBBA) took home top provincial honors in the Tourism category here on Feb. 5, as winners of the Best Visitor Guide in Ontario, as chosen by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO).
Recipes to Experience Elora & Fergus, Ontario is a concise booklet featuring the accommodations, restaurants, attractions, arts, and various festivals and events throughout Centre Wellington. It is the result of a cooperative vision to create an attractive, user-friendly visitor guide that has helped put this region on the tourism map.
With the support of tourism stakeholders, FEBBA volunteers and advertisers in the community, Recipes to Experience is touted as a treasure map of what to do, see, and where to stay that has been well received beyond the community.
Entries to the EDCO competition came from 46 communities across Ontario, and included a prestigious group of nominees. Recipes to Experience topped the other finalists from Brampton and Sudbury. The award was presented at a gala dinner at the Marriott Hotel, hosted by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, David Onley.
“What makes the award especially sweet is that the project came together so quickly, with overwhelming support from everyone involved,” said FEBBA president Ro Cober. “We have been working hard in the same direction for two years now, and the results are starting to pay off.”
Part of that success came in the form of a grant through the Ontario Market Investment Fund in January. FEBBA, as a tourism stakeholder has partnered with other organizations under the stewardship of Elora Fergus Tourism to successfully compete for a grant of $98,500, the result of a successful funds-matching proposal submitted last November.
That funding will be used to build and promote the Elora Fergus area as a culinary tourism destination, an initiative that includes creating linkages between local food growers and producers, and the restaurants, events and festivals that can promote local food to the masses, within and beyond Centre Wellington.
The award-winning Recipes to Experience Elora & Fergus Visitor Guide will be the main vehicle to promote the marketing initiative in its inaugural year.
Economic Development Officer Dave Rushton has announced that this year’s print run will be doubled to 70,000 booklets. The distribution strategy includes inserting almost half the guides into The Globe and Mail prior to the Victoria Day holiday in May.
“The 416 and 905 area codes are key target markets for us,” said Rushton. And Globe subscribers are already pre-qualified to a large extent in terms of the demographic we want to reach.”
The 2009 campaign will be supported by a website, advertising and direct mail. “The OMIF funding is a great opportunity to leverage what we already have,” said Rushton. “We’re going to build new product, and put the word out about all the great things there are to taste and experience in Elora and Fergus.”
The booklet is the third successful entry of the Fergus Elora Bed & Breakfast as an EDCO finalist.
The group previously received awards of merit in 2006 and 2008.