Tourism program to build consumer confidence during pandemic

Coffee shop owner working with face mask and gloves , cleaning and disinfecting tables. © Can Stock Photo / halfpoint

Area businesses are being encouraged to sign up for a free program aimed at building consumer confidence during the pandemic.

Tourism Sarnia-Lambton (TSL) Executive Director Mark Perrin said the Safe Travels initiative will provide participating restaurants, retail and other attractions with safety resources and signage.

He said the goal is to assure residents and visitors that the area is a safe place to visit, shop and experience.

“What we do is work with businesses to make sure that they get the proper paperwork of what protocols they should be following, and we have an actual kit that when a business signs up and gets approved, they’ll receive face masks, window stickers, the guidelines, hand sanitizer, [etc].”

Perrin said the initiative was created in partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and World Travel & Tourism Council.

Locally, Perrin said the pandemic’s impact has run deep with many events being cancelled.

“This list was extensive, every year we have 40 and 50 events take place in Sarnia-Lambton, so it’s almost one a week.”

He said one of TSL’s jobs now is to recreate how the events will look in the future, like the “Rocking the Runway” concert on October 23 and 24 at Chris Hadfield Airport.

Perrin added that it hasn’t been all bad news.

“We did have some businesses up in the Lambton Shores region that overall were down, but reported that the months of July and August were booming.  You could not find an Airbnb rental and we had some sellouts of hotels.  So we did have that summer traffic and now as we get further into the fall, how do we keep people coming.”

For more information on the Safe Travels program, or to sign up, click here.