MTA touring Island-wide with new tourism vision

MANITOULIN—The January 2014 newsletter of the Manitoulin Tourism Association gave newly-elected president Ron Berti an opportunity to introduce himself to the membership and to shine a light on his perspective of the challenges facing the tourism industry on the Island, providing some indication of how those challenges can be met by leveraging practices that have proven effective in the past.

“The transformation at our doorstep requires a clean sweep,” said Mr. Berti. “As of today, January 1, 2014, we begin charting a new path for the MTA. It will be a journey, this is for certain, but in many ways I see it will be a journey home. A journey towards things more familiar, to some of the older ways of doing things that still, actually, work fine today, and towards overall simplicity and authenticity.”

Mr. Berti went on to note that this does not mean ignoring the impact and tools of the digital age, but that through having a “well thought out, cooperative marketing strategy, a clear vision and plan, and the support of our membership” the MTA “can greatly simplify and reduce the amount of overlap whereby everybody is scrambling to try and put the pieces together on their own.”

Mr. Berti went on to announce that in the coming weeks the organization would be launching the new MTA Tourism Concept and Marketing Strategy for Manitoulin Island and the North Shore. “We will send a notice of the schedule of public presentations for the membership, which will take place across the Island.”

The longtime hand on the helm of the successful Debajehmujig Theatre Group, based in the renovated and repurposed Mastin Building in Manitowaning, said that the MTA is “extremely excited to move to the next stage and to begin working together in a fresh new direction.”

“It may feel like we are putting on a comfy old sweater than a new designer hoodie, but that is a good thing,” he said.

The MTA board will be holding its first meeting of 2014 on January 22, where Mr. Berti will be presenting the marketing strategy for the first time.

In the meantime, Mr. Berti said he and his daughter are taking creative advantage of the opportunities provided by the recent massive snowfalls. If Mother Nature gives you bountiful snowfalls, you might as well make intricate snow forts. “You make the best of what comes your way,” he said. And today, that is plenty of construction snow.

Michael Erskine