Mind on Minden in 2019
By Chad Ingram
Published Dec. 24, 2018
Emily Stonehouse, economic development, destination and marketing officer for the Township of Minden Hills, gave councillors an overview of her plans for 2019, during a December council meeting.
Stonehouse was hired to the position, a new one for the township, in the fall, and recently held jobs with local tourism business Yours Outdoors, and Fleming College/Haliburton School of Art + Design.
“In 2019, it’s recommended that Minden Hills focus on its internet presence,” Stonehouse said, explaining that the plan was to break Minden Hills’ online presence, both in terms of its website and social media accounts, into separate categories; one for the administrative business of the township, and one for destination tourism.
A tourism campaign called Mind on Minden will be launched, and Stonehouse showed council a mockup for a tourism website.
“As you can see, it’s a very kind of simplistic idea here,” Stonehouse said, “and it’s based on a background from the Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization.”
OHTO is a provincial regional tourism organization of which the Haliburton Highlands is a part, and marketing for Minden Hills will fold into the experiential tourism strategies employed by OHTO.
“I did do a lot of research on how I can kind of keep up with social media, and encourage all of our businesses, all of our community members to get on the same page,” said Stonehouse, but said she found there is some social media burnout among stakeholders in the community.
“I found that people were over it,” she told councillors.
“In this time of social media burnout, hashtags, geotags and exploited natural resources, Mind on Minden is a tourism initiative designed to encourage visitors to disconnect to reconnect, and live in the moment,” Stonehouse said. The campaign will also mirror Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2012 “Find Yourself” tourism campaign.
Part of Stonehouse’s role is engaging with the township’s businesses community to establish priorities. There has been some talk at the council table in the past about establishing a mandated business improvement area. BIAs are different from business associations, in that the former are established geographic areas in which businesses are mandated to pay fees, those fees being used for events and promotional activities. The Village of Haliburton has a BIA.
“So far, potential BIAs have been met with some tension, a little backlash, so I’m hoping I can lay the groundwork to move forward,” Stonehouse told council.