Province, Travel Manitoba launch strategy to boost tourism in Manitoba's north

The Manitoba government hopes to see a $35-million boost in tourism spending in the province’s north over the next five years through a new Northern Manitoba Tourism Strategy.

Goal is $35-M more in tourism revenue by 2022

The Province and Travel Manitoba unveiled their new Northern Manitoba Tourism Strategy Friday. (Travel Manitoba)

The Manitoba government hopes to see a $35-million boost in tourism spending in the province's north over the next five years through a new Northern Manitoba Tourism Strategy.

Launched jointly Friday by the province and Travel Manitoba, the strategy is a five-year plan that builds on the goals set out in the Look North report on the economy of northern Manitoba — a plan for helping the area's economy stabilize amid layoffs and shutdowns — released in October.

"North of the 53rd parallel, Manitoba has incredible natural assets and is rich in Indigenous culture and history," said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen, in a release. "Sharing these experiences with travellers from across the province, Canada and the world is an opportunity to enrich the lives of many and contribute to the economic future of the region."

According to numbers from the province, tourism in Manitoba's north generates $116 million from 530,000 visitors annually. The strategy hopes to increase this to $151 million by 2022.

While the north is ranked fifth among Manitoba's six regions (not including Winnipeg) in terms of total visitors, it's ranked second in terms of the ratio of overnight to day trips and sees average per capita spending of $219 per person per visit, according to the province. 

5 priorities

The strategy released Friday is based on five priorities that include clarifying the roles of tourism stakeholders in the region, a new focus on marketing led by Tourism Manitoba, a development of tourism product and experience for those travelling to the area, and requirements for infrastructure enhancement and development.

The fifth priority of the strategy will be to ensure a regulatory environment that is "conducive to tourism business success," according to the release.

"We know the products and experiences in Manitoba's north are attractive to our target customers and we know visitors to the region tend to stay longer and spend more," said Colin Ferguson, president and CEO of Travel Manitoba, in the release. "This strategy provides a realistic roadmap as we work to grow tourism in northern Manitoba through product development, marketing and by leveraging community support."

Ferguson says the strategy was created after extensive consultation with northern tourism stakeholders.

A northern tourism advisory committee will work with Travel Manitoba and local tourism consultants to implement the strategy, added Ferguson.

The strategy can be read online at the Manitoba government's website.