A small but vocal group stood by the border crossing here for about a half-hour or so on Friday morning to deliver a very important message: welcome tourists.
It's one all of us should embrace as the flow of American anglers has begun streaming into Rainy River District once again while seasonal residents have started to arrive to spend the summer months at cabins right across Sunset Country.
Fort Frances still is the major “gateway" for U.S. visitors flocking into Northwestern Ontario and, as such, we play a crucial role in welcoming the annual influx of tourists. This is especially important for newcomers to the area—we are the front-line for "first impressions,” where a helpful attitude or simply a friendly smile can make the difference in whether they choose to return in future years.
And with our mill remaining shuttered, the importance of the tourist industry as a key economic driver for the district cannot be understated. No matter where tourists are heading as their final destination, the benefits provided through jobs and spin-off spending by area camps make their way into local coffers eventually.
The healthier the tourist industry is, the better off we all are.
After fears that last summer would be its last, it's great to see the tourist information centre here is back open again to provide an “official” welcome to those crossing the border into our neck of the woods. But everyone can—and must—play a role in being good ambassadors for Northwestern Ontario.
We are blessed to live in a region of remote beauty, pristine lakes, and great fishing. Let's all show how happy and grateful we are to share it with our visitors each year by being gracious hosts.