| Jan 31, 2008

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Feature Article - January 31, 2008 LOLTA not laughing out loud By Jeff Green Terry Shea from the Land O’ Lakes Tourist Association presented the 2008 tourism map and guide to Central Frontenac Township Council this week, and presented an update on the activities of the 200-member organization.

The Land O' Lakes Tourist Association encompasses tourism-related businesses in Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Townships as well as the Town of Tweed, and has been repositioning its marketing message for the past four or five years. “The transition is about complete,” Terry Shea said. “It became clear as marketers that the largest challenge we had was finding a fit for people to enjoy the beautiful region we share in a way that they understand, to get the value for the region we feel we can provide effectively.”

As Terry Shea explained it, accomodation is an issue in the region. “We enjoy almost full capacity in the high season” he said, “we have been developing a focus on shorter visits.”

This year’s brochure has the banner “Holiday and Day-Trip Adventures Guide” at the top of the cover, and it includes articles on activities that can be enjoyed in one or more days. The hope is that people will extend their visits to such centres as Kingston, Napanee, and Belleville, by spending a day in the Land O'Lakes. Among the activities that the guide promotes are cycling the “County Trails” route in Lennox and Addington, hiking, snowmobiling and ATV riding throughout the Land O' Lakes, canoing/kayaking, camping, golfing, fishing, and dining.

Between the new Adventure Guide and the ever popular Land O'Lakes map, Shea said, “We believe that we have two pieces that do a good job, but the distribution has to be stronger than the information we are sharing.”

He outlined an extensive distribution strategy that delivers materials in the region at major locations throughout Ontario, and at the US/Canada border.

The association's website, which has been upgraded significantly in recent years, is being re-positioned as well. A new web address, travellandolakes.ca, has been established and over time, the address that LOLTA has ben using for years, lol.on.ca, will be phased out. The reason for this is that lol has come to be an expression unto its own through instant messaging sites such MSN Messenger.

A more pressing issue that Terry Shea talked about was the pending end of the current provincial rebate programme that LOLTA members have been taking advantage of for the past few years. The RED of Rural Economic Development programme has provided a 40% rebate on new marketting initiatives, but it runs out this summer. “We will need to find new resources to help with marketing from some source,” Terry Shea said.

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