Tourism Study Offers Glimpse Into What Visitors Are Looking For

June 25, 2021
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – Interest in regional destinations is forecast to be a main driver of vacation travel this summer according to new research from the RTO 9 (The Regional Tourism Organization of South Eastern Ontario).

RTO 9 Tourism Survey

The research suggests that demand in travel to South Eastern Ontario is high, with two in five Ontario and Quebec consumers interested in travelling to the region this summer. RTO is providing the results of the research to local tourism businesses and destination marketing organizations to help them understand who will be travelling, what experiences visitors will be seeking and what marketing channels they will use to help plan their trips.

“We anticipate that once restrictions are lifted, tourism will resume quickly to our region,” said Bonnie Ruddock, executive director of RTO 9. “There is pent-up demand to visit friends and family and to get out of our own houses and neighbourhoods. We are encouraging visitors to seek out new and unique experiences in South Eastern Ontario beyond what they’ve done before — and to consider staying an extra night or two. A longer stay in our region will have a meaningful impact on recovery for our tourism operators.”

The research also suggests that South Eastern Ontario will attract frequent travellers and younger couples this year, with frequent travellers in Ontario, millennials and those under 45 most likely to visit the region. Solo travellers scored surprisingly high at 15 per cent, pointing to the desire to seek escape from routine, and focus on wellness and relaxation. The food and drink scene in South Eastern Ontario has the broadest appeal to consumers with wineries, craft breweries, restaurants, bakeries, local producers and farmers markets topping the list. Nearly half of the respondents said they were very interested in food and drink, followed by history and wildlife. Traveller interests are also influenced by age, with millennials interested in active experiences such as cycling and adrenaline activities, while Gen Xers are most interested in art, architecture and wildlife viewing.

“Cornwall is well situated to meet the needs of regional travellers,” says Kevin Lajoie of Cornwall Tourism and a Board member of RTO 9. “Our region has what many consider to be the best section of the Waterfront Trail that is attracting scores of cyclists from Ontario and Quebec, along with some amazing dining and craft beer experiences. We hope that many of these travellers will stay the night so that they can fully experience the heritage and natural amenities in the SDG and Akwesasne as well.”

RTO 9 has put together a list of what travellers can see and do this summer. We’ve highlighted some of local attractions in Cornwall SDG and Akwesasne:

  • Eat and drink in the region and experience a real farm-to-table scene. The local-food movement is in full swing as local restaurants collaborate with local producers. When in Cornwall, be sure to also visit our very own Rurban Brewing.
  • Spending time on or in the water is one of the most unique and exhilarating experiences for which the region is so well known. The St. Lawrence River is a boater’s paradise for recreational and avid seafarers alike. For those looking to explore the depths of the region, Cornwall boasts world-class fishing and some of the best freshwater scuba diving with a thermocline and shipwrecks to explore.
  • Look for places that are off the beaten path – while everyone longs to see the best-known attractions or visit the busiest beaches, why not go beyond the bustle and explore the relatively unknown. Visit local artisans and makers at Cornwall’s Pop-Up Shops. The region offers everything from a prehistoric playground amidst life-sized dinosaurs at Prehistoric World, to hand-painted military figurines at Doran Bay Model Ship Museum. Look to Cornwall Tourism and the SDG Tourism websites for a little help locating the area’s hidden gems.
  • Shop and support local merchants and retailers. Visitors should be prepared to find something delightful and any one of Cornwall’s eclectic shops. From specialty boutiques to an antiquer’s paradise, and from shopping centres to small-town treasures, the region is the perfect place for a little retail therapy.
  • Learn about the vibrant history of Cornwall, SDG and Akwesasne by visiting the Cornwall Community Museum and taking the Cornwall Historic Walking Tour. Learn more about the people who first settled these lands at the North American Travelling College or experience life in the 1860s at Upper Canada Village.
  • Bike along the St. Lawrence River traffic free with the Recreational Trail and Waterfront Trail or explore the rolling countryside with road routes and mountain bike trails for every level of rider.
  • Golf at some of the best courses – not just in Ontario, but in all of Canada. From the Upper Canada Golf Course to the 36 holes at Summerheights Golf Links, the Cornwall region has over a dozen spectacular courses.

For more information about experiences available in Cornwall, visit

About Cornwall Tourism

Cornwall Tourism is responsible for marketing Cornwall to attract new visitors. The office maintains a visitor information centre year-round at the Civic Complex. is an online resource that provides current tourism news as well as a comprehensive calendar of events.

You can follow Cornwall Tourism online:

About RTO 9

RTO 9 is a regional tourism organization established in 2010 that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. RTO 9 actively promotes tourism for the South Eastern Ontario region and works to support and grow the tourism industry through marketing, product development, investment attraction, and workforce development initiatives. The regions of South Eastern Ontario are 1000 Islands Gananoque, Bay of Quinte, Brockville, Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Counties, Frontenac County, Kingston, Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward County and the 1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways. For more information about experiences available in South Eastern Ontario, visit

About the Study

The market research study  was conducted in February/March 2021 by Twenty31 Consulting on behalf of the RTO 9 Regional Tourism Organization. It sampled 1,531 of adult travel consumers in Ontario and Quebec. Travellers are defined as those who either: had travelled at least 40km for an overnight leisure trip staying in paid accommodation over the past year and/or were likely to take an overnight leisure trip staying in paid accommodation in the next 12 months. Results are representative of the Ontario and Quebec online adult traveller population and are considered accurate within +/- 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The results presented here are subject to sampling tolerances.

Categorised in: , , , ,