Where: Hatfield-McCoy Region and Trails Network, West Virginia, U.S.A.
When: Monday, September 24 – Thursday September 27, 2018
What is a Best Practices Mission? A Best Practices Mission (BPM) is a working trip that showcases success stories from other leading travel destinations. The BPM connects you directly with communities, entrepreneurs and stakeholders that are leaders in attracting and serving visitors in their target market. You will see, experience and talk, peer-to-peer, about their successes and challenges. BPMs are one of the best ways to be inspired and to learn.
Who Should Attend? The Snowmobile Destination Development BPM is designed specifically for decision-makers and managers from tourism operations and communities across Northeastern Ontario wishing to expand or grow their share of the snowmobile travel market. The ideal participant represents a business or community from Northeastern Ontario who has been involved in snowmobile tourism development projects such as Building the World’s Best Snowmobile Destination or Aventure Nord and can play an active role in growing and enhancing the snowmobile tourism product within the region.
Why the Hatfield-McCoy Region and Trails Network for a Snowmobile BPM?
While the primary focus of the Hatfield-McCoy Region and Trails Network is ATV tourism, it is well recognized as a best practice in terms of niche market tourism development on a regional scale. The region has been extremely successful in developing new product and attracting new investment revolving around their trails assets. Having built a world class network consisting not only of the trail system itself, but of multiple towns, counties, and organizations, into a sustainable model and economic driver for the region, Hatfield-McCoy is a phenomenal example of how stakeholders in Northeastern Ontario can build on the region’s trails asset to create a snowmobile destination that is truly the world’s best.
About the Hatfield-McCoy Region and Trails Network
The Hatfield-McCoy Trails first opened in October 2000 with three trail systems as a means of increasing tourism and employment opportunities in one of the most economically distressed areas of the State. Since that time, the trails have expanded to cover seven counties and include a total of eight trail systems totaling more than 700 miles of trails usable by ATVs, UTVs and off-road motorcycles.
The diverse network of trails draws tens of thousands of visitors into the project area each year. Non-local visitor spending, coupled with annual expenditures to maintain the function and operation of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, stimulates the local economy and the State of West Virginia by extension. Many of the trail systems also offer community connecting trails that allow visitors to access “ATV-friendly towns” to experience the charm of southern West Virginia. Gateway cities and towns surrounding the eight Hatfield-McCoy Trail systems provide a variety of accommodation, entertainment, grocery, fuel and retail options for visitors to the Trails.
The presence of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in southern West Virginia has benefited the local economy and the State for more than a decade. For example, the number of regional businesses in the accommodations industry increased by approximately 45 percent between 2000 and 2011 and includes cabins, rental homes, lodges, motels, hotels, campgrounds, RV parks and bed and breakfast establishments (Hatfield-McCoy Trails 2014). Through the continual development and enhancement of the trail system and other amenities provided by the Hatfield-McCoy Trail network, the economic and educational wellbeing of area residents has improved and is likely to realize continued improvement in years to come.
Specific Learning Themes Include:
• Developing a complete travel experience for the rider
• How to become a “snowmobile friendly” town
• Building a connecting trail network from the ground up
• Establishing a successful governance model
• Developing creative sustainability, funding models and corporate sponsorship programs
• Entrepreneurial development programs and supporting private sector growth
• Developing gateway partnerships
• Effective wayfinding (signage; mapping; etc.)
• Marketing and selling a trails-based region and product
• Assessing and communicating the economic impact of a regional project
• Developing a regional trails-based event series.
What will happen on this mission? You will:
• Start off in Charleston, West Virginia with a history of the Hatfield-McCoy trails project. This will set the stage and provide insight into how the network originated and evolved into the award winning regional development project and key economic driver it is today.
• Participate in a variety of on-site trail related tourism experiences designed to appeal to ATV and UTV travellers from both a visitor and management perspective. This will stimulate ideas on parallel experiences to implement that would also appeal to snowmobilers.
• Connect with tourism industry leaders who have successfully developed and sell a trails-based travel experience to the world.
• Spend time with Northern Ontario colleagues.
• Take home actionable tourism improvement ideas and tasks.
Who is Leading the Mission? Marla Tremblay, Markey Consulting
Marla has extensive experience working in tourism development for Northern Ontario. As a tourism officer and economic development professional, Marla has led the development and implementation of numerous tourism development projects throughout Northern Ontario with the goals of growing and enhancing the region’s tourism product. A key team member contracted to develop the World’s Best Snowmobile Destination strategy for the Northeast, Marla is well versed on the needs of the industry and the snowmobile visitor.
When: Monday evening, September 24 to Thursday morning, September 27, 2018 (not including travel time to and from Toronto, Ontario).
Cost: Participant Trip cost is $1,200 / individual. Participants must apply and have their applications approved.
This cost will cover return flights to/from Toronto to Charleston, West Virginia, all on site travel, accommodation, set meals and activity fees during the four-day trip. Additional discretionary spending will be the responsibility of participants.
You are responsible for travel arrangements and related costs to/from Toronto, Ontario.
The ideal participant represents a business or community from Northeastern Ontario who has been involved in snowmobile tourism development projects such as Building the World’s Best Snowmobile Destination or Aventure Nord and can play an active role in growing and enhancing the snowmobile tourism product within the region.
Deadline for Application: July 17, 2018
Participant Trip fee payment of $1,200 due by: July 30, 2018