The staff involved in the Economic Development department at the Town work hard advancing a dual-pronged mission: 1. Help existing businesses improve their financial prosperity and 2. Attract new businesses to Georgina to off-set the tax load carried by our residential ratepayers and provide new job opportunities for residents.
And within those two lofty goals is the underlying mandate to bring more tourists into our community.
Certainly one of the main assets that we have to attract tourism is our beaches. With seven public beaches and one Provincial park spread throughout our sandy shores, Georgina is positioned to play host to tens of thousands of tourist every year.
But the reality is many of these tourists are day-trippers who come to the beach readily equipped to stay put and not venture too far from the water. As a result, the opportunity for them to ‘shop locally’ diminishes the minute they spread out their beach towel.
So, if our visitors won’t come to the mountain, why not take the mountain to them.
In other words, why not invite our business community to set up a stall at the beach?
I’m thinking, perhaps once a month we host an event at the beach where Georgina businesses can come and sell their wares. I’ve even come up with an event name:
For those of us who have ever vacationed on a tropical beach somewhere, beach vendors are almost as plentiful as the grains of sand. But, have I ever bought something from them? You bet I have.
In my mind’s eye I see numerous tents gathered along the perimeter of a Georgina park (perhaps Willow Beach) offering art, crafts, jewellery, beach clothing and other essentials, toys, suntan oil, lotions, books, magazines, resort brochures, fishing tours, food concessions, real estate info, a tourist booth and so on and so on,
We could rip a page out of the Kempenfest manual but invite Georgina businesses only. I think it could stimulate the economy, introduce our business community to the tourist- visiting public and add a new dimension to our beaches.
Certainly a tourist booth on the beach could go a long way in helping us promote all of our tourism amenities and businesses. It could convince an already target audience to come back and explore what else Georgina has to offer.
So, what’s to stop us? Well, the Town would have to get on board together with the various BIAs and the Chamber. And of course, the business community would need to participate. I think it is an idea worth exploring and who knows, it might just take off.
As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.