Despite the many setbacks caused by COVID-19, Niagara will see a familiar tourism organization return with a refreshed brand and a renewed purpose.
Niagara’s South Coast was started in 2012 to represent the interests of hospitality and tourism businesses in the municipalities of Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Wainfleet and Welland. In its first five years of operation, a group of committed volunteers established the association as the official destination marketing authority for the region’s southernmost communities.
In June 2020, a successful application to the $30 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund through FedDev Ontario and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) created new opportunities to re-establish Niagara’s South Coast after a period of inactivity. The funding support was largely used on projects that helped mitigate the impacts resulting from pandemic-related measures and restrictions. Allocated funds from this same funding source also allowed for the creation of a work plan that has given the organization a second chance at being effective.
“The collaboration between staff in the four participating municipalities has been extraordinary,” said Scott Luey, chair of the board of directors for Niagara’s South Coast. “They picked up this initiative, put it back on track and now have everything moving in the right direction.”
On top of refreshing the logo and website, which can be viewed at niagarasouthcoast.com, the tourism organization continues to undergo brand development and strategic planning. The raison d’être for renewing this partnership between Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Wainfleet and Welland has to do with the significant contribution that tourism makes to Niagara’s economy.
“Our purpose is to unlock the potential of south Niagara’s tourism product. We want visitors from near and far to see our destination as a coastal getaway that checks a lot of boxes in terms of adventure,” said Luey.
With a long-term objective to target visitors in the rubber tire market from Ontario and border states in the U.S., engaging locals and rallying their support has become the main priority at this stage in the organization’s journey. The newly launched Stamps from the South Coast program is an example of one way that Niagara residents can be tourists in their own backyard. Running until mid-December, visits to participating businesses in Niagara’s South Coast will give customers the chance to collect stamps and enter into weekly draws for $150 in prizing.
ABOUT NIAGARA’S SOUTH COAST
Niagara’s South Coast Tourism Association is a strategic partnership between four municipalities that have joined forces to promote Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Wainfleet and Welland. Founded in 2012 and governed by a board of directors, we are a not-for-profit organization focused on undertaking marketing initiatives with an objective to tell the destination’s story and drive incremental yield in all targeted visitor segments.