QUEEN’S PARK – Sarah Campbell, MPP Kenora-Rainy River, is asking Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan to explain the reasons for his decision to close Travel Information Centres in Kenora, Fort Frances and Rainy River. Speaking in Question Period May 3, Campbell asked the Minister to explain his decision in light of newly released numbers that do not support his story.
“This government cited declining numbers as the reason for the decision to close Tourist Information Centres in Kenora, Fort Frances, and Rainy River, but the government’s own numbers show that the traffic in Pigeon River is lower, yet it remains open. Will the Minister explain the reason for his decision?,” she asked.
While the Minister has maintained that the decision was based solely on numbers alone, the numbers show that visits to the Pigeon River centre were 23,849, as opposed to 32,506 visits to the Kenora centre. While visits to all seasonal centres have declined across the province since 2002, Pigeon River has experienced the second sharpest drop in tourist traffic of all seasonal operations, while Kenora has is second only to Prescott in retaining its visits. Coincidentally the Prescott Travel Information Centre is also closing.
“The numbers simply do not add up,” states Campbell. “The Minister is ducking the question and he needs to explain the decision. He says the government is going to focus on online marketing, but ignores the infrastructure gap. He says they are based on numbers, but the numbers don’t match the decision. People in my riding and across the province deserve to know why these decisions are being made and why this Minister is being so evasive in answering the question.”
As a result, Campbell is launching a “not for sale” campaign in hopes of convincing the minister to reverse his decision.
The campaign will be formally launched May 4 at the now closed Ontario Travel Information Centre at the Manitoba border at 11AM.