FAMtastic year for travel media in Sault Ste. Marie

Writer Gaby Burger and Tourism Sault Ste. Marie’s Lindsey Ackland stop for a photo on the shore of Lake Superior during an October 2017 FAM tour. The visit is generating a feature story in Porter Escapes, the online travel blog of Porter Airlines.

To promote the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosts travel media from around the world. These familiarization (FAM) tours lead to feature stories and television coverage for the city. With 2017 winding down, it has already been the busiest year ever for local travel media.

Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, has facilitated 23 FAM tours so far in 2017. This activity led to a number of promotional opportunities, including a travel documentary aired on Japan’s JB-TV, articles featured on Porter Escapes and other blogs, a locally-filmed episode of The Amazing Race Canada, content on the Attractions Ontario website and various travel guides, and stories published in China’s Epoch Times, The Toronto Star, Japan’s AGORA Magazine, Cleveland News-Herald, The U.K. Daily Mirror and MotorHome Magazine.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to boost the number of FAM tours in our community, and we’re very pleased with the results for 2017,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie for the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “Any time you can garner national and international coverage for the city, it’s a great opportunity. I thank our colleagues at the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and Tourism Northern Ontario for their support in making these FAM tours possible.”

Visiting travel media typically cover attractions like the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, fishing in the St. Mary’s River and area lakes, local restaurants and museums, and hiking and driving along the shore of Lake Superior. “It’s our job to convince travel media to come here; once they arrive, they’re always amazed with the beauty of the region,” said Lindsey Ackland, Coordinator of Visitor & Media Relations. “We look forward to generating more FAM tours and welcoming new travel writers in the weeks and months to come.”

These promotional opportunities are created by attending media marketplace events and pitching the community. As one example, staff met producers of The Amazing Race Canada at a 2016 forum. After some detailed discussions, the show decided to film an episode in Sault Ste. Marie. Aired last month, the segment generated more than 1.5 million viewers and over $1.18 million of ad coverage for the city in the Ontario market alone.

To learn more about the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, including its activity and results, visit www.sault-canada.com.