Tourism Operational Review update

Staff memo.

Tourism Services Operational Review
Following the September 2013 Council approval of the staff recommendation that the City undertake a formal operational review of Tourism Services, the staff working group set out the parameters for the review. Included in the review will be:
• a review of services currently offered
• an assessment of the strategic needs for tourism services
• a best practice analysis of other funding, service delivery and governance models for similar municipal tourism services
• an assessment of the current organizational, management, operating and governance structure and current service delivery methodologies
• a review of internal and external relationships relative to service delivery
• an evaluation of resource levels and their deployment
• an identification of opportunities for more efficient and effective municipal program delivery

As part of the final report, the consultants will also be asked to prepare and present an implementation plan.

An RFP was issued in October to hire a consultant to undertake the review, and the successful bidder was GGA Management Consultants. This firm has extensive experience in tourism and economic development including:
• strategic plan for Regional Tourism Organization 12 (Algonquin Park, Georgian Bay, Muskoka)
• strategic plan arts, culture and heritage for the City of Cambridge
• tourism strategy for the County of Oxford, economic development
• tourism strategy for the City of Cornwell and Region
• tourism investment climate study for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism

This firm also did the Phase 2 Integrated Operation Review (IOR) for the City of Guelph.

Work began in early January, and is expected to conclude by the end of May 2014, with a report to Council coming forward in June 2014.

First steps in the review are key stakeholder interviews – these begin with internal staff on Monday January 27th and then continue with a number of external stakeholders on Tuesday January 28th. Consultation with all tourism partners and stakeholders will be done through selected interviews, broad-based surveying, and a workshop to review findings and possible new services.

The project oversight committee for the review consists of:
• Derrick Thomson – Executive Director, Community and Social Services
• Peter Cartwright – General Manager, Economic Development
• Loretta Alonzo – Internal Auditor
• Colleen Clack – General Manager, Culture and Tourism