Purpose of Project (including anticipated outcomes)
The purpose of the 2021 Year End Report is to evaluate, and provide full transparency to Council and the public, as to how the County of Hastings economic and tourism development efforts are performing. The anticipated outcome is that the Year End Report becomes a report card of sorts, to County Council. Have we measured up to (or surpassed) expectations? It also is an opportunity to review strengths and weaknesses and identify actions that need to be reconsidered or adjusted. The publication also goes further than simply identifying how many people visited our website and how many followers we have on social media and so on. It outlines specific quantitative metrics such as how many new businesses received 1-on-1 in depth assistance from County staff and how many tourists actually visited and how much money they spent.
Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives (if known)
With many items to review and consider, elected officials cannot possibly remain up-to-speed on every single economic development project and be apprised of what’s working well and what is not. Therefore, an objective of the Year End report is to keep elected officials acquainted as to how their approved plans and programming are making a difference.
As an example, on March 15, 2022, our Economic and Tourism Development Manager formally presented the Year End Report to all of County Council at a public meeting. The Report was well received and approved by Council and later published on the Internet for anyone to access and download. Whenever a member of the public wants to know more about our work and progress, a copy of the Year End Report is shared with them.
Challenges & Changes made
A challenge with reporting on the success of economic development projects is the availability of data. It can be quite time-consuming collecting and obtaining figures, or often they are not easy to find. For example, in the past, data from Statistics Canada was utilized to try and indicate the number of visitors to Hastings County. However, Stats Canada data can be 3 or more years old by the time it is made public, and it includes figures from communities outside of our borders. More recent and accurate data was needed.
In this 2021 Year End Report, Hastings County secured 2019 and 2021 mobile phone tracking data from Environics and point of sale numbers from Moneris. A comparison was made between visitation and spending in 2019 (the first full calendar year before the pandemic) to 2021. The data demonstrated an increase in spending and visitation to the communities we promote. These two data sources provided reliable and more recent information to help inform County Council and assist with current and future initiatives. Also to get an accurate picture from businesses themselves, our staff also conduct a formal telephone survey of businesses across the County to learn from them directly how their year went, number of customers, sales and so forth. This is summarized in the Year End Report.
Target Audience (demographics)
The Year End Report targets a wide range of audiences including local businesses, potential investors, our member municipalities, members of County Council and local ratepayers.
Any details regarding the sustainability of your project.
Aside from the purchase of data from Environics and Moneris, and a consultant paid to help conduct the telephone survey, the collection of information and drafting of this report was accomplished entirely in-house with a very small budget for graphic design. The electronic version is published to Flipsnack in order to help reduce printing costs and make it easily accessible online.