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Episode 16 // A Path to Rural Recovery: Destination Tourism

Championed by our friends at Community Futures Saskatchewan


Imagine being tasked with ramping up economic development for a rural community?!


Believe it or not, there's a method to it, one NTN Pro, Rebecca Mackenzie, President of the Culinary Tourism Alliance, shares with us today in #TheGabLab.

Tune in as she reveals the secret sauce that transformed Prince Edward County into one of the world's top places to travel, as described by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Learn how this tiny town went from a small wine producing region to a thriving tourism destination, boasting over 40 vineyards, a dozen breweries, and countless memorable experiences from beaches and orchards to cycling tours and charming locales.

This episode is for the entire community, with rural Founders and Farmers at its core.

Part 1 // Demand Generators for Rural Tourism

What’s one essential need every tourist turns to regardless of where they’re traveling?

FOOD! And it’s integral to stimulating tourism.

In Part 1, Rebecca shares with us how the community leveraged the power of culinary tourism for the enrichment of local businesses and the county.


Tune in as Rebecca takes us through the process they used, start to finish, including how to identify the community's demand generators, leverage local assets and engage the community’s stakeholders.

You’ll also learn how the strategy supported entities across the entire culinary value chain, including farmers. And how two innovative programs helped local restaurants tackle the issue of seasonality by nudging tourists into becoming accidental culinary tourists.


Part 2 // Processes and Potential Pitfalls

Tourism isn’t just accommodations, restaurants, and attractions; it’s an immersive experience that touches on all aspects of the local economy—referred to as the visitor economy.


Rebecca serves up important insights into better understanding the capacity of the community, its labour force, and the impact seasonality has on both place and people. She calls attention to possible cracks in rural infrastructure, cracks likely to amplify under the weight of a growing visitor economy, if left unchecked.

“Stakeholders need a long-term vision to address potential issues; how revenues will be realized and where they’ll be reinvested. COVID has given planners time to slow down, address these questions, and revisit their strategy.” Rebecca Mackenzie

Curious as to learn more? Tune in to Part to uncover the process and potential pitfalls to growing visitor economy.


Part 3 // Measurement and Metrics

Governments can too often focus on what Rebecca likes to call the “heads and beds, and bums and seats” for gaging the success of tourism. Instead, Rebecca recommends looking at qualitative factors to assess a tourist destination’s performance.

Tune in as Rebecca reveals the top five metrics every community will want to consistently measure as they roll out their “Taste of Place” campaign, here in Part 3 of #TheGabLab.


About the Pro // Rebecca Mackenzie

President, Culinary Tourism Alliance

Passionate about the interrelation between food, agriculture, tourism, arts, and culture, Rebecca has been instrumental in developing tourism products including Prince Edward County’s award-winning Taste Trail/Route Des Saveurs and the CTA’s Feast On® certification program.


In her role at the CTA, she managed highly participatory and asset based community development projects at the local, regional, provincial, and national levels. She oversees programming, partnership development, and develop comprehensive marketing partnerships to increase awareness of Canada’s food tourism experiences.

She contributes her expertise to a variety of industry boards including the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Gastronomic Tourism Network. As well as creating curriculum for Centennial Colleges Food Tourism Post Graduate Program, she contributed to the UNWTO Global Report on Gastronomic Tourism, and Transforming the Terroir into a Tourist Destination to the Routledge Handbook of Gastronomic Tourism).


She is currently working on a Master of Arts in Global Leadership at Royal Roads University.

Her specialties include: Tourism Development, Community Development and Business Strategy.

About the Champ // Community Futures Saskatchewan


25 years of loans, advice and support for Saskatchewan Founders

Community Futures Saskatchewan has been in the business of encouraging and supporting their communities, volunteers and small business owners for more than 25 years. They know what it takes to start and grow a business, to raise money for a community project or organize to provide a much-needed community service.


Connect //

GAB LAB CHAMP // Community Futures Saskatchewan www.cfsask.ca