PARRY SOUND – Business is varying in the region this summer.
The store and phones at Georgian Bay Country are busier this year, with people looking for more information on the region, and those visiting the area are spending more money than before.
But, the number of visitors frequenting area businesses is down, according to local owners, operators and associations.
On James Street while there are fewer customers this year visiting the Wolf Den, they’re spending more than in years past. Also, many of the customers are paying in American money.
“We’re fantastic, this is our best July ever and we’re beating our best July ever last year and our best July ever the year before,” said owner Doris Muckenheim.
Natalie Overend, owner of Craganmore Point Resort which is on an island in Georgian Bay’s South Channel, said the summer’s sunny weather is great for the restaurant and marina, but having little impact on accommodations.
“I think it’s going pretty well, I think some of the accommodations might be down a little bit, but traffic and restaurant are doing well,” she said. “We’re in a unique situation because we’re on an island and weather really determines whether or not we’re busy so with hot dry summers, we tend to be busier than not.”
To increase the rental of accommodations, the company has changed its online presence to ensure people can find them when looking to come to the area. So far, the changes have increased calls and emails.
“I’m not convinced people aren’t out there and people aren’t travelling more and people aren’t coming to our area (after the 2008 recession) as much as I wonder if our particular business has done what it needs to do to be found on the Internet,” said Overend.
This summer the number of people visiting the Georgian Bay Country Travel Centre, off Highway 400 at the Seguin Trail, is up 20 per cent
Gerogian Bay Country
The Georgian Bay Country Travel Centre is not only helping more people, but also selling more locally produced goods than in years past, said Georgian Bay Country manager Anna Marie Harris.
More people are not only stopping at the travel centre, but are calling looking for activity ideas and where to go while here. Invariably they’re directed to the website, which links to members across the region.
“I’m not sure when people are phoning if they are deciding what area of Ontario they want to go and see, so they can get the information before they come up instead of coming up and going ‘maybe we should have gone somewhere else or this was the right spot to go’ ” said Harris. “They are doing a lot more background information.”
The increased numbers at the visitor centre seems to be an anomaly within the region. Just like at the Wolf Den and accommodations at Craganmore Point Resort, the number of customers is down.
“I know other people are saying accommodations and things like that, they are not full compared to what they are last year, I do not have an answer for it, same as the waterways don’t seem to be as busy, the marinas and things like that,” said Harris, comparing reports of a drop in visitors at local businesses to the increased numbers at the visitor centre.
Chamber of Commerce
Parry Sound Chamber of Commerce members in several different sectors are all found July slower than last year, said Chamber chief executive officer Perry Harris.
“However,” he said. “August looks to be pretty strong, which is great.”