Public tourism meeting slated, branding on agenda

A new tourism brand for Flin Flon was released in September. Three months after the public unveiling, plans are afoot to see how it can be used and where it will go.

A public tourism summit will take place at the Creighton Community Centre on Jan. 22, covering how Flin Flon and other northern locales can embrace tourism and use the existing branding as an advantage.

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The event will have two main focuses, according to organizer and Travel Manitoba steering committee member Becky Cianflone – discussing how tourism can be used and who will be charged with advancing it.

“We’re looking for people who are going to want to plug in and get hands-on and work from the grassroots level on our tourism entity, organization or whatever it may end up being,” she said.

“The reaction has been very positive. There’s certainly a sense that we have to build some momentum now.”

Travel Manitoba will have a facilitator at the event to aid in interpreting and organizing use of the tourism brand. The branding, which included a brand new logo, publicity materials and a motto – “The Water and the Wild” – was developed by Travel Manitoba and Winnipeg-based McKim Communications Group. The City of Flin Flon dedicated $10,000 a year for the next three years for implementation of the brand.

“With the reveal of the place branding, I think the timing ended up being a bit unfortunate because it was unveiled and then we went immediately into municipal elections. That held things up for a while, because we needed to get through the election to know who our councillors were going to be; to know that we have support in continuing to put this thing out and to get everybody up to date,” said Cianflone.

“I think we had a great reaction to the reveal of the brand. People were excited, and now we really want to build that momentum and keep things going. It was never the intention that we’d get this fabulous brand and then nothing would happen with it for some time.”

A group of uptown business owners are slated to host a presentation about Main Street revitalization at the event. Another delegation will come from Vern May, the executive director of Portage Regional Economic Development, a group that has recently helped oversee the use of a place branding in Portage la Prairie.

“Portage la Prairie is one of the other communities that participated in Travel Manitoba’s place branding program,” Cianflone said. “They have been really successful in utilizing their brand in building collaboration around tourism, setting up tourism structures and things like that.”

Tourism has become a favoured subject as a potential supplement to northern Manitoba’s economy, especially with recent news surrounding mine shutdowns in Flin Flon and Thompson.

“I think it’s a natural fit for this community, whether Hudbay exists here or not. It is a natural fit and I think there are some really good opportunities in the sector,” said Cianflone, adding she has seen business and community leaders agree on the role tourism can play.

“The stars are sort of aligning in terms of the support we have from Travel Manitoba and their commitment to really see increased tourism dollars come into the north. We’ve got some great drivers for this in the community. We’re seeing some private business people who are interested in moving this thing ahead. We’re seeing some great leadership in our municipal governments and in some of our non-profit organizations. I’m hearing tourism talked about around a number of tables.”

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