Haliburton County – Making a Great First Impression

August 03, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
There is only one opportunity to make a first impression, and communities throughout Haliburton County are learning how to make a good one.

The County of Haliburton’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Marketing has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to co-ordinate the First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) program with communities throughout the 4 jurisdictions of the County.

The First Impressions Community Exchange is a structured process that reveals the first impression a community conveys to outsiders, including tourists and potential investors. It offers a fresh perspective on the community’s appearance, services and infrastructure and provides insight on the community as seen through the eyes of a first time visitor.

It is a cost effective way of determining a community's strengths and shortcomings through a 'secret shopper' style of examination whereby exchange teams of 5 – 8 individuals from 2 communities agree to secretly arrive at the other’s town and examine such things as:
• the gateways, services, directional signage, facilities (Hospital, schools, recreational & libraries etc.)
• housing affordability , mix and state
• friendliness of citizens and helpfulness of businesses and staff

Each community is judged on the same criteria and matched with a community of a similar size. Reports are then presented back by the exchange communities to the Municipalities which often assist the exchange communities by providing insight for downtown revitalization, community strategic planning, investment attraction and retention.

The Township of Minden Hills has completed the First Impressions Community Exchange with the Township of Madoc and the Municipality of Dysart et al will be next followed by communities in the Municipality of Highlands East and the Township of Algonquin Highlands.

For more information about the Haliburton Highlands, visit www.haliburtoncounty.ca or www.haliburtonholidays.com.