Solid Marketing: A Key to Attracting Visitors

OCAF has made available “Plan to Succeed”, a self-help marketing toolkit. The kit is not a required part of the OCAF application process, although applicants are encouraged to use the kit and its results. OCAF hopes that the kit will be a useful tool for any cultural or heritage organization. A print version is available upon request.

OCAF also developed a marketing workshop program which reached 189 participants from 90 communities.

Cultural events and attractions supported by OCAF have been successful in attracting audiences and generating new revenues. In fact, the 427 OCAF-funded events that took place by March 31, 2013 have attracted over 35 million visitors and received revenues of over $330 million. By attracting new audiences, cultural organizations have diversified their sources of earned revenue and have also been successful in attracting private sector support. OCAF clients have reported receiving almost $135 million in earned revenues and over $83 million in cash and in-kind contributions.

Solid marketing is key to this success. Projects approved for OCAF funding must have a marketing plan that targets new visitors to their communities. OCAF staff provides consultation and assistance as requested by client organizations.

Visitors who include cultural attractions in their Ontario travel plans represent significant economic value for communities across the province. Cultural tourists tend to stay longer and, consequently, spend more money in Ontario. A recent study prepared by Research Resolutions & Consulting Ltd. for the Ontario Arts Council showed that, in 2010, over 9.4 million overnight visitors to Ontario participated in cultural activities. These overnight cultural visitors spent $4.1 billion in Ontario in 2010. On average, overnight cultural visitors spent 56% more during their visits than other overnight visitors ($667 per person vs. $374 per person). (OAC-Tourism-Report).

For tourism-related companies, this means business. For cultural organizations, this means diversification of audiences, increased impact in their communities, important new partnerships and new revenue sources.

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