MRC Pontiac, with all its beautiful wilderness and nature, is a touristic area that the region’s officials recognize and invest in. The 2022 MRC budget allocated over 3 million dollars on economic development projects and activities, a good portion of them related to tourism; this proves that tourism is
recognized as a vital part of Pontiac’s future. There are many entertainment and tourism-oriented businesses in the area. But what are the tourists’ most immediate and basic needs? Are they being fulfilled?
Quality and affordable accommodations, reliable phone and 5G (or better) wireless data coverage, and efficient and sustainable public transportation options are some of the basic needs of many tourists–similar to what is still needed by long-term and lifelong residents. Tourists must first find a reliable, affordable way to commute to the area, make sure they can communicate or do their necessary work while staying in the area and also find a nice affordable place to stay. Then they can spend more time here, which means they will spend more money in our other local businesses. We all know about the phone and internet coverage problems in the Pontiac. Will there be any solution for it in the near future so that these sought after visitors don’t worry about getting cut off from the outside world while they are staying here?
One of the biggest challenges for locals and tourists alike is accommodation; what is available is often low quality or overpriced for the quality offered. In other words, you can find the same quality for less in another nearby area. This is highly problematic because most visitors to the Pontiac come from the nearby cities, so they don’t need to stay overnight. If there was a wider variety of accommodations (more B&Bs, updated hotels or motels, etc.) it would make a huge difference to the touristic development of the region.
Some municipalities in the Pontiac are trying to develop and participate in the “villages-relais” system, which could be a good start towards expanding the network of towns throughout the region with tourism offerings. Changes like these are needed to encourage the overall economic activity in the region and to welcome visitors: our family, friends, and those we have yet to meet. There are solutions available but we need the vision to develop them more; in the end, this will help preserve our natural wilderness, our known history, and the future viability of our region.