July 26, 2021

Reposted from the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance

TORONTO, ON, June 28 – As Ontario gears up to reopen this summer, the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) will be leading a dynamic recovery program aimed at supporting local businesses along the food tourism value chain and encouraging hyperlocal travel within the province.

The program is complemented by a strategic, collaborative marketing campaign entitled “The Great Taste of Ontario,” that brings together over 90 DMOs from across Ontario working in partnership with sector organizations, provincial organizations, media, charities with a focus on food security and industry representatives under one common goal.  This effort has been made possible thanks to an investment from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), with support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).  

“Now more than ever, Ontarians are looking to reconnect—to people, places and our great tastes! This program helps inspire Ontarians with their travel plans while reinforcing the importance of supporting our farmers, food and beverage producers and the thousands of businesses that showcase their tastes. Explore the passports and download for your stay in Ontario and play plans!” says Rebecca Mackenzie, President and CEO of the Culinary Tourism Alliance.

“The Great Taste of Ontario is an exciting and dynamic campaign that means Ontarians will not only have the opportunity to discover new tastes and culinary delights, but will also play an integral role in helping to rebuild the tourism industry in Ontario and support our regions farmers and food and drink producers. I urge all Ontarians to take advantage of the passports and immerse themselves in what our incredible province has to offer,” said Christopher Bloore, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.

“Our government is proud to support the Great Taste of Ontario, as it helps some of the most impacted sectors bounce back. This initiative will stimulate local tourism and encourage more residents to reconnect with their local restaurants, shops and tourism experiences, all while protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for the province. As per our plan for a strong economic recovery, we will continue to invest in our key industries, including tourism, which are essential to the vitality of our regions, ” says the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible FedDev Ontario.

Building back the food, tourism and hospitality sectors

The Great Taste of Ontario is centered around a collection of hyperlocal destination passports created by destination partners, that will inspire Ontario residents to discover—

or rediscover—their province and explore local businesses in the region. Designed to boost regional economies by increasing tourism visits and promoting sustainable food and drink-focused travel in a pandemic-friendly way, the program supports over 1,000 small- to medium-sized enterprises across Ontario, with more businesses added each season. 

Travellers are encouraged to download the passport for their region and check-in when visiting participating businesses. Check-ins can be redeemed for Ontario made prizes or donated as cash to partner charities—FoodShare or Second Harvest—with a focus on food security. A collection of Ontario-centric playlists featuring all-Ontario artists has also been curated to officially make this the year of the road trip!

Exploring closer to home

Border closures and limited international travel have resulted in an increased intent in local, domestic travel. Road trips and extended staycations will be the most popular vacations this summer with many travellers actively seeking out unique and immersive experiences centred around local food and drink. Rural, off-the-beaten-track experiences, as well as hiking, biking, watersports and other adventure-based trips will also top the list as consumers look for ways to immerse themselves more into the outdoors. The CTA hopes to keep momentum for this interest by providing local travellers with a deeper connection to the culinary tourism value chain through ongoing initiatives such as The Great Taste of Ontario.

As the province moves ahead with its phased reopening, and businesses and local communities prepare to welcome back visitors in anticipation of a busy summer, the CTA will continue to share stories from Ontario’s diverse foodie destinations and connect Ontarians and visitors to the unique experiences Ontario has to offer.