City of Thunder Bay launches brand new tourism website to attract visitors

After nearly a decade since the last website renewal, officials at the City of Thunder Bay, Ont. launched a new website for Tourism Thunder Bay on Wednesday afternoon.

“95 per cent [to] 97 per cent of consumers use websites to plan their trips right now,” said Paul Pepe, Thunder Bay’s manager of tourism, “it’s the number one planning tool and our old site wasn’t as mobile friendly as it could be.”

He said with about 5,000 people visiting the website daily, many of the users are using their mobile devices to plan out their trips and see what’s happening when they get to their destination.

“Over 80 per cent of consumers are using their mobile device for part or all of their trip planning experience,” Pepe continued, “particularly when they are here on the ground and they are looking for more things to see and do. Having the mobile connectivity, it has to be perfect.”

With beautiful photos and videos featuring the unique landscape of northwestern Ontario, Pepe said the new website will also include posts from Instagram as a way to connect with international travellers from Asia and Europe.

“The social media connectivity is much greater,” Pepe explained, “linking to our Twitter, our Facebook, our Instagram accounts and allowing some real time updates and connectivity.”

As Canada’s premier outdoor city, Pepe said Thunder Bay is seen as a pristine location to many international travellers as it is located right on the shore of the largest fresh water lake in Canada.

Not just for travellers

Residents of Thunder Bay are also encouraged to explore the new tourism site and and use it as a tool when they are hosting families and friends who are from out of town.

“I think [because] we live here, it’s easy for us to take it for granted what a great city we have,” Pepe said, “we have so many outdoor experiences at our doorstep and we have a great restaurant scene as well.”

He said for every $1 million that’s generated through tourism for the City of Thunder Bay, 16 jobs are supported, which is why he’s asking everyone in the city to become ambassadors and get familiar with their city again.

The launch of the tourism website is just the first phase of an overall project to renew the city’s website, according to the city’s director of corporate strategic services, Karen Lewis.

“Through the city’s strategic plan, there was a commitment to more engagement with the public, so this website renewal is also a part of creating a website that is easier to navigate [and] provides quick access to information.”

She said the city will also be launching their newly designed website in late June, but until then, residents can view and explore Tourism Thunder Bay’s new website.