No burying their head in the sand here: Georgina chamber hittin’ the beach to boost tourism

Georgina Chamber of Commerce executive director, Jennifer Anderson, and chairperson of the chamber’s tourism board, Jim Beechey, stand at the chamber’s mobile tourism trailer currently parked at De La Salle park offering Georgina swag and information for beach-goers.

During the summer, thousands flock to one of Georgina’s beaches to bask in the sun and claim a towel-sized plot of sand — if only for a couple hours.

And those are the people the Georgina Chamber of Commerce want to convince to spend their money in town.

With the help of a federal tourism grant, administered by Central Counties Tourism, the Georgina chamber’s dream of establishing a presence at the waterfront has finally come to fruition with its mobile tourism trailer.

The chamber purchased a cargo trailer, installed and painted shiplap and converted the space into a cottage of knowledge for beach-goes.

Along with Georgina swag, visitors to De La Salle park can also find local business brochures, restaurant menus, event flyers and maps to local attractions and landmarks in the trailer.

“Now, people are not coming to tourism centers. They’re going to the beach by the thousands,” said chamber executive Jennifer Anderson.

“We understand the need to get local information into the hands of these visitors and to promote all the great businesses that exist in Georgina.

“What better way to connect than to go (where) they are visiting.”

At the start of the pandemic, the chamber turned inward and promoted the town as a tourist destination for local residents to rediscover hosting numerous #ShopLocalGeorgina events.

Now, as businesses are reopening and on the road to post-pandemic recovery, the chamber is looking to beachgoers to #ShopLocal in Georgina.

In addition to local business information, the trailer is equipped with Wi-Fi and tourism ambassadors are ready to answer questions about where to rent paddle boards, how to get a parking pass and a local bus schedule.

The chamber is also working with York Regional Transit to install a QR code where visitors can scan for live transit schedules and updates.

Since the town banned cooking or barbecuing on the beach or park area as part of a COVID-19 safety protocol to help curb the number of visitors flocking to the beach, menus for local restaurants have been flying off the shiplap shelves.

“Visitors come here for the beach, we can share with them where to eat and shop all within a short drive,” said Jim Beechey, chairperson of the chamber’s tourism committee and member of the Central Counties Tourism board.

All of this is — menus, brochures and event flyers — in part boosting the town’s economic development, he added.

“It all trickles down,” Beechey said. “The more people come here and go to local restaurants then maybe the local restaurant expands or a new restaurant opens in town.”

The trailer is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm, weather permitting.

While the trailer will only be stationed at De La Salle for a short time after the Labor Day long-weekend, the plan is for the trailer become a permanent fixture at the beach next summer.

“Long term, we will be here,” Anderson said.

During the fall and winter, expect to see the chamber’s tourism trailer in tow at several town events such as Georgina Sno*Fest.

“It’s mobile, there’s open opportunities,” she added. “You’ll see us around town.”

There’s also the option of having tourism ambassadors at various locations along the waterfront next summer as well.

Along with the mobile trailer, chamber’s tourism funding also includes establishing a ‘selfie trail’, featuring interactive displays and murals throughout town similar to the giant wings found in Nashville.

The self-guided, ‘selfie trail’ is expected to open later this fall.

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STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Reporter Amanda Persico visited with members of the Georgina Chamber of Commerce for a tour of the mobile tourism trailer and to learn how the initiative would help boost the local economy.


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