I had the opportunity to attend the Manitoba Lodge
and Outfitters Conference last month in Winnipeg to listen to a panel headed by
the Manitoba of Chamber President and CEO Chuck Davidson titled “ Getting
Tourism on the government’s radar.”
Having worked in the past as Outdoor Product manager for Travel Manitoba
even I was surprised at the small amount the province reinvests to promote
tourism. Travel Manitoba has a budget in the neighborhood of $7 million a year;
a drop in the bucket considering tourism brings in more than 1.4 billion a
year. Davidson is advocating more of a reinvestment of this money to reverse
the declining number of tourists that come to this province every year. He says
that for every dollar spent promoting, the province receives at least $10 in
return on investment. Davidson is encouraged by a new tourism campaign
announced last month by Travel Manitoba. Colin Ferguson, the organizations
President says they will launch the new brand this month, that, he says, should
“ inspire a sense of awe in our target audiences and pride in the hearts of all
Manitobans. The tourism industry's new catchphrase is "Manitoba: Canada's
the Chambers job is to work with different stakeholder groups to provide a
clear plan to government on how it should reinvest.
Paul Turenne, Executive Director of Manitoba Lodge
and Outfitters Association, says the influx of anglers to Manitoba Lodges has a ripple effect on
rural communities all over Manitoba and agrees with Davidson that more of a
reinvestment would greatly benefit the province overall. We have a number of
angling stakeholder groups in Manitoba and it’s time to get these organizations
around the table again, so we can be part of the solution.
In conversation with a number of lodge owners over
the last two years it’s been Canadian anglers who are now making up a large portion
of their clientele, covering for the loss of U.S. business. While not the case for
every lodge operator, it seems to be the way of the future. Research verifies
that more and more people are coming to fish Manitoba from Saskatchewan,
Alberta and Ontario. Certainly, I know a lot of people from Winnipeg who book a
fly in fishing trip at least once a year.
Angler Notes: I would like to remind everyone that
you still have time to nominate
Manitoba’s official provincial fish. This is a once in a lifetime
opportunity to nominate a fish you think
best represents Manitoba’s fisheries resource to the rest of the world. We have over 80 native fish species found
throughout the province that inhabit our many lakes and rivers.
As chair person
of the volunteer committee that will review nominations, I really want to see
the votes pour in from all over the province.
The selected fish will be recommended for official adoption as an
amendment to The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Act.
To date, the top
5 fish nominations in no particular order are Lake Sturgeon, Goldeye, Walleye
(pickerel), Northern Pike, and Channel Catfish.
To nominate a
fish, please visit www.manitobafisheries.com
and provide us with a short fish story on why you think your fish
should be Manitoba`s official provincial fish. Nomination deadline is February