Charlottetown, PE – Islanders are proud of Prince Edward Island. They know every inch, nook, and cranny of this beautiful red Island like the back of their hand. Ask any local you meet where to find the tastiest food, best fishing hole, breath-taking vista, the most secluded beach, and awe-inspiring walking trails and you will be given directions to the hidden, and some not-so-hidden, gems of PEI. Yet, Tourism PEI seems to think this knowledge is not enough. It has said it is engaging the services of Vancouver-based Twenty31 to help develop a 5-year tourism growth strategy for Prince Edward Island.
“Islanders don’t understand how Tourism PEI reached the conclusion that an off-island marketing firm from the opposite side of the country is the best option to tell our story, to share our gems, and to engage tourists to visit our beautiful Island paradise,” said Ole Hammarlund, Official Opposition Critic for Tourism and Culture.
In an interview with CBC, the Chair of Tourism PEI, Mr. David Groom, said Twenty31 “checked all the boxes” for their selection process for a marketing firm to develop a 5-year growth strategy.
“What was the criteria Tourism PEI used in hiring Twenty31 to develop their growth strategy,” asked Hammarlund. “Furthermore, was this an open process that Island firms could bid on?”
In the interest of transparency and integrity, the Official Opposition is asking Tourism PEI and the Department of Tourism to explain the criteria and process used to select a firm to develop its 5-year growth strategy.
“Outside agencies can sometimes offer a new or different perspective; however, they should not replace the expertise and knowledge of local agencies who have lived experience here on Prince Edward Island,” explained Hammarlund. “Islanders are rightfully asking questions about this process and why no local business has been engaged in developing our tourism efforts. I’m asking government and Tourism PEI to explain their decision so we understand.”