By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Northumberland County Tourism Manager Eileen Lum is charged with the task of maximizing tourism – though the shutdowns and restrictions imposed by COVID-19 make tourism inadvisable and, at times, forbidden.
All she can do, Lum said at the April meeting of Northumberland County council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Standing Committee, is to work on creative ways to help those retailers, restaurants and other sectors affected by the pandemic.
She is also making plans for coming out of the pandemic when the time is right with a robust plan for putting the county back on the tourism map – “potentially later in the fall,” she guessed.
“Our key – and this is the case for the county – is to keep everybody safe.”
The Good To Go campaign over the winter was very well received, she said of the social-media promotion for take-out and delivery options at local restaurants.
“It was amazing – we saw a 30-times increase in the social traffic to our website,” Lum estimated.
“And many of the businesses that participated were very appreciative of this extra promotion. We had a lot of them come on social media thanking the county for their support, and we are very, very happy to do so.”
Looking ahead, her department has begun work on a wellness focus for tourism promotion, facilitating meetings with member tourism organizations to gauge the interest – which proved to be significant and enthusiastic. There was a strong wish to create wellness experiences unique to Northumberland area, Lum said.
And expanding Cycle Tourism capacity is another focus, given the growing population for this sport, “especially during this pandemic, when people want to go to ares where there is open space to partake in activities outside.”
Preparations include an upcoming cycling webinar with more information on this promising field, such as establishing bike-friendly businesses and locations.
“This process, again, is for the near future when we are able to welcome visitors,” Lum said. “All our activity right now is mostly development, until such time as we can do more promotion.”