Turning residents into tourists with Outaouis campaign - Metro US

Turning residents into tourists with Outaouis campaign

This summer, get away — without going very far.

With the aim of turning residents into tourists, Tourisme Outaouais launched its 2009 summer campaign in Gatineau Tuesday.

In previous years, Outaouais has marketed itself as far as the United States, director general of Tourisme Outaouais Gilles Picard said Tuesday.

“But because of the economic situation, our strategy is a little bit different,” he said. “We’re promoting the Outaouais region to people in Ottawa, Montreal and Kingston, to invite families and adult couples to visit our destination.”

The campaign — which has 75 partners and is valued at more than $1.4 million — includes TV spots, radio and newspaper ads and close to a million brochures that urge people in eastern Ontario to check out a destination that’s right on their doorstep.

“Our marketing strategy is that it’s close to where you live,” he said.

There’s something for everyone in the Outaouais, he said.

“It’s a mix of urban and nature. We have museums, parks, a casino, the train and (the Lefleche caves).”

For camping enthusiasts, there are parks and opportunities to rent cottages or go fishing, he said.

“There’s also the urban part of Outaouais,” he said, naming the Canadian Museum of Civilization and regional festivals and events as examples.

“You can be a tourist in your own region so easily.”

While a recession might seem like an unusual time to start a tourism campaign, it’s actually a good opportunity, said Picard.

“If we don’t do it now, when the economy starts back up, we won’t be there,” he said.

The Outaouais region gets three million visitors a year.

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