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Tourism Summerside is tapping into a new marketing tool to help bring visitors to our fair city. The group charged with drawing visitors to town and helping the rest of us come up with ways to keep them happy, spending and coming back, has unveiled its new brand and logo.

‘Explore Summerside,’ was released to the public at a special launch Friday morning. The tourism group hopes the initiative will help set a new course for marketing the city to the broader world. The move follows a strategic business plan in 2012.

The question now is, will this new ‘Explore Summerside’ brand and logo help us move forward and position the city in a way to achieve its goals?

Not likely – at least not on its own.

The relaunching of brand and logo is just the beginning. It is an important first step but now come the hard parts: community buy-in and, more importantly, action.

Tourism Summerside has identified making the region a four-season tourism destination as a priority. It’s going to be tough. Not impossible, but tough. Spring, summer and fall seasons will require a little spit and polish. How Summerside, or anywhere on the Island for that matter, intends to be a four-season destination will be the most interesting to watch. But lets not get hung up on that and instead focus on the positives.

Officials with Tourism Summerside said understanding consistency at every point of contact will be key. But it goes deeper than understanding. It’s what we do with that understanding that will define us.

Tourists are a fickle lot. What worked yesterday doesn’t work today, and certainly will not work tomorrow. So it comes down to anticipating the wants and needs of our guests and reacting to them.

Carolyn Thorne, executive director of Tourism Summerside, said Summerside has a lot to offer - much of which is distinctive to the community. She noted the baywalk, festivals and events such as the lobster festival, the College of Piping Highland Gathering, Highland Storm, Atlanticade and others. It’s true, we do have all those things and they do act as draws and will continued to do so for the foreseeable future. But to their credit Tourism Summerside leaders acknowledge that despite our successes, tourism has been struggling right across the province. They believe now is the time to change.

To that end they are telling tourists and local operations to not “just visit Summerside, but explore Summerside.” To help that along they have developed a rack card listing all of the events for 2014.

This is all a great start, but there is still much to do.

Organizations: College of Piping Highland Gathering

Geographic location: Summerside

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