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Tourism Oxford seeks feedback on 5-year plan

By Lee Griffi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tourism Oxford is looking toward the future as it builds a five-year plan to help guide management, product development and marketing of tourism in the county.

The five-year plan is an opportunity to consider the role tourism has played in growing the local economy over the past few years and build on that success. The plan will look to future opportunities to support Oxford and its eight local area municipalities in fostering a diverse and prosperous economy.

Tourism Oxford has created three surveys to collect feedback for the five-year plan. Surveys have been created for residents, visitors and tourism operators. The surveys are a chance for you to have your say on the future direction of tourism initiatives in Oxford County and offer suggestions on how Tourism Oxford can continue to support local tourism operators. Anyone interested can learn more or take one of the special surveys by June 9, 2024, at

County tourism specialist Meredith Maywood said an environmental scan has been completed which provides valuable data.

“On what’s happening locally, and on a provincial and national level for tourism trends. Now we are in the consultation phase where we are looking for feedback on what people would like to see in the development of the future of tourism in the county.”

Maywood said the market dictates what gets developed but the county still wants to hear what people want to see.

“We would love to hear from them on that but also what they are enjoying at this time and what could make a trip here more special.”

The survey is open and all three target audiences have so far been quick to provide their thoughts.

“People are enthusiastic about their communities and visitors have connected with us and are passionate about where they are visiting and of course, businesses have a passion for what they are doing. We have received a lot of feedback and it’s great to see the engagement,” explained Maywood.

The county is blessed to have destinations work together to collectively to bring tourism to a new height in Oxford and Maywood hopes the awareness will grow even more with the exercise.

“Whether that is residents or local businesses and of course visitors, there is so much being offered here. How can we engage people and let them know what’s available?”

She added the county is not only seeking out of region visitors but also wants to get the word out to locals who may not have visited the many unique opportunities available in their backyard.

County Warden Marcus Ryan believes there is much more room to grow the sector in Oxford and added there is a unique offering here.

“We don’t have Niagara Falls or the CN Tower, but so many people are looking to do day trips and we have cheese shops and opportunities for people to meet the cheesemakers and the family, see the farm. The last decade of that kind of business growth here has shown these are really viable businesses that start as a ma and pop family side hustle but turn into a business that employs other people.”

He added the county needs to hear from people about what things they like, what they don’t like and how they would like it to be different to make sure they are doing it right going forward. Ryan said there are no plans to expand the county’s resources yet.

“A lot of what our tourism department does is support private businesses in growing. Our department connects them with grant and marketing opportunities. The county isn’t investing in a tourism business but in terms of resources to support growth, yeah, at a certain point, there might be more human resources to support it.”

He added there would need to be a plan to grow tourism in Oxford for that to happen.

As a Sustainable Tourism 2030 community, Tourism Oxford promotes sustainable travel opportunities in Oxford County while supporting efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion. Tourism Oxford partners with local tourism operators and supports local businesses with training and networking opportunities. Tourism’s key successes include a partnership with Oxford County Federation of Agriculture to create Oxford Fresh, a program that promotes local agriculture businesses, and the award-winning Oxford County Cheese Trail a self-guided tour featuring 32 cheese, dairy and related businesses and offerings for visitors to experience. 


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