May RSS Advertorial

The Importance of Resident Input in Developing the Haliburton Highlands as a Sustainable Tourism Destination

You may have seen the Resident Sentiment Survey (RSS) that was shared online in December. In this fifth installment of six, and on the heels of Tourism Week in Canada, we are going to take a closer look at some of the key data that was revealed, which will be published in full here next month.

National Tourism Week, which ran from April 24th to 30th, is an annual invitation for all tourism partners to come together to champion and promote Canada’s destinations, tourism businesses and employees – from coast to coast to coast, including here in our very own County. The theme this year was CANADA: Powered by Tourism and celebrated the current rebuilding of the visitor economy after a devastating two years for the industry, while also recognizing that there’s a long way to go before tourism returns to being the $105-billion economic powerhouse it was pre-pandemic.

While tourism in the County of Haliburton represents just a small percentage of that much larger national number, locally it is a substantial and very important part of our overall prosperity, and it is the reason we created the Destination Management Plan (DMP) and embarked upon the community-based tourism approach to begin with. As we work to recover and continue to build our tourism product in a way that is not only successful and sustainable, but that also provides real, tangible benefits the entire community, your input via the RSS is invaluable.

As mentioned, next month we will share with you a one-page infographic that will show the key learnings from that first annual RSS – learnings that we have spoken to over the past few months here. For example, we learned that many of you (4.6/10) were not familiar with the role of the County’s Tourism Department, especially now as we turn our focus to community-based tourism and what that means. We learned priorities for areas of growth include growing employment opportunities for young people to increase youth retention; developing tourism activities that align with the needs of residents, including affordability, and the protection and restoration of the natural environment; and building awareness of current tourism initiatives related to climate change, truth & reconciliation, and diversity, equity & inclusion.

All the responses you provided in the RSS will not only help to guide us but, and perhaps most importantly, will act as a benchmark that we can measure our results against over the coming year by comparing them with the results of the 2nd annual RSS, which will run from Sept. 11 to Nov. 12, 2023. For the first RSS we received close to 600 responses from both seasonal and permanent residents, despite the short-notice and limited time available to complete it. It is our hope that with more notice and a two-month window to respond, more of you will have your say in the development of our County as a year-round tourism destination that we can all enjoy and benefit from.

If you are interested in staying up to date on the RSS project, you can visit: Here you will be able to read the final RSS report, which is summary of all the answers that were received from respondents, along with all the advertorials you saw here that spoke to various topics including why resident input matters, what is community-based tourism, and more; as well as the County’s 5-Year Destination Development Plan, which provides insights into the creation of the RSS and our focus on building the visitor economy here in the Haliburton Highlands.

If you have any questions, please contact Tracie Bertrand, Manager of Tourism for Haliburton County, at

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