Explorers’ Edge was honoured with the ‘Tourism Innovator of the Year Award’ at the 2020 Ontario Tourism Summit, a 2-day virtual event with over 800 attendees that was hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) on October 27th and 28th, 2020.
Presented to ‘an individual or organization that created a new innovative product, policy or service to promote and enhance tourism in their local community, region or the province of Ontario’, Explorers’ Edge was recognized for the organization’s years-long work to introduce scheduled passenger service at the Muskoka Airport. On June 27, 2019, the first Porter Airlines seasonal flight into CYQA touched down on the tarmac, launching an extremely successful first year of service.
“We are grateful to be recognized by our own industry for our work on this project,” says James Murphy, executive director of Explorers’ Edge, which is also known by its administrative name of Regional Tourism Organization 12. “The strategy to attract more international visitors by partnering with a major airline, and to then disperse these passengers all throughout our entire region on our shuttle bus service, was extremely well received.”
The seasonal service into YQA is a multi-year, tri-party agreement between Explorers’ Edge, Porter Airlines and the District of Muskoka, which owns the airport.
“We are extremely grateful to Porter Airlines for partnering with us on this project – the first of its kind in Canada – and to the District of Muskoka for investing in airport infrastructure to make this happen,” Murphy added. “We are on a forced hiatus right now due to Covid-19, but we are looking forward to the day when the service resumes again. We will be ready, and we are determined more than ever to ensure the long-term success of this project.”