I supposed it’s a little twisted, but it was humourous watching Toronto Mayor David Miller shift into PR mode during an appearance on CNN (that’s CNN, not GNN) last week, trying to convince American visitors to visit the Big Smoke, despite the current strike by city workers.
Miller can downplay it all he wants, but rotting garbage piled in temporary dumping sites such as city parks is hardly conducive to luring tourists, especially since the city obtained a court-injunction allowing spraying as a pest control measure.
A big, fat, dead rat would be a nice symbol to use on city tourist propaganda, wouldn’t it?
So, throwing sugar on the piles of garbage is only going to attract rats and bugs instead of tourists, but the strike is only a short-term challenge to Toronto attracting tourists.
There’s a little thing called the recession, which is keeping Americans in particular at home this year, not to mention the high cost of gas and the fact that Toronto is an expensive city to visit.
There have been other factors over the years, such as the SARS outbreak in 2003, but the bottom line is that Toronto has been slipping as a tourist destination for years, more in need of a makeover than a slick PR campaign or a mayor acting as a used car salesman.
American television will once again be zeroing in on the Toronto area next week, only this time the picture being painted will be much more pleasing than rotting garbage.
CBS and The Golf Channel will be visiting for the RBC Canadian Open, an event that will likely do more for tourism in the area than any pathetic pleading by Miller.
When Michael Jordan, Kevin Costner, George Lopez, Martin Brodeur and other A-listers tee it up in the Mike Weir Charity Classic on Monday at Glen Abbey in nearby Oakville, it will shift the focus to the positive side of the area better than any politician.
The fact that the Open has risen from the ashes, with strong support from its title sponsor RBC, means increased interest in our national championship not only from Americans, but across Canada.
In that respect, I agree with the findings of the latest GNN Poll, which asks the question how big of an impact does the RBC Canadian Open have on the Canadian golf industry as a whole?
Forty three per cent of respondents so far feel that the biggest impact is felt in the area in which the Open is played, in this case the Toronto area and Oakville specifically.
According to the poll, 24 per cent feel there is some impact nationally, while 14 per cent feel that national impact is significant. Only 19 per cent felt the Open had no impact at all.
There’s little doubt that the Toronto area will benefit financially and with exposure from the event as golf fans from across North America tune in next week.
Perhaps Mayor Miller should be keeping an eye on proceedings because golf hasn’t been used as well as it could be along with restaurants, attractions, nightlife and theatre in drawing tourists to Toronto.
Toronto has an abundance – many say an oversupply – of outstanding courses that could be used in a marketing campaign to turn the big city into a golfing destination.
So, the poll is dead on when it says that the immediate area in which the Open is played gets definite benefits from the event.
That leads to the widely-held belief that if the Open is to be a truly national championship, it should be played in all parts of Canada, not just Ontario and, to a certain extent, Quebec and British Columbia.
However, the poll also illustrates that there are benefits for the rest of the country, as well. Many Americans look at Canada as one entity and they’re aware of prime golfing destinations such as B.C., the Canadian Rockies, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, to name a few.
The exposure the Open gives to Canada as a nation reinforces the positive view that potential U.S. visitors have of this country in general, but particularly, as a golfing destination.
There are other potential benefits for everybody, as well. This is my own opinion, but I believe the buzz around the Open, no matter where it’s played, helps generate overall interest in the game across the country, leading to more participation, and that’s never a bad thing.
It’s up the industry to take advantage of this spike in interest.
Government officials may want to look at the economic impact of not only the Open, but golf in general on the economy. The National Allied Golf Association is expected to unveil its recent economic impact study either at the Open or shortly afterwards.
I’m betting it’s good news for the game, but assuming it is, the key factor is going to be how the industry uses it to its fullest potential. That will be the important question when NAGA releases its findings.
GNN will continue with this particular poll for a few more days. Be sure to drop by and cast your vote, or if you would like to expand on your thoughts, the GNN Forum is always open for business.
THE WAIT IS OVER FOR CPC CHAMP: The time has come for Kyle German, winner of last year’s Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professionals Championship, to head to Glen Abbey for next week’s RBC Canadian Open.
It’s been eight months of anticipation since German earned his exemption at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., last November, but the big moment is here.
German heads to Oakville, Ont., on Saturday and he’ll be offering his unique perspectives through his daily blog on GNN, including the good wishes of the people around him at the Point Roberts Golf and Country Club, which is posted today.
Wander over on the home page to Kyle’s Blog. He’ll post another on Friday before taking off the next day. His daily reports will begin on Monday