The tourism and cannabis industries came together recently at the first-annual New Heights Cannabis Tourism Summit held at Blue Mountain Resort, just north of Collingwood, Ont. The summit featured informative sessions on everything you need to know about creating a cannabis-tourism product — from marketing to compliance and more.
Post legalization, cannabis-tourism companies are popping up across Canada, anticipating the popularity of the cannabis-tourism industry. “Canna-tourism” is expected to be especially popular in Ontario, where regulations are more relaxed compared to its West-Coast counterparts.
“Canada is going to be the model for a lot of companies around the world,” said conference founder Jennifer Mason, president of Toronto-based JLM Strategic Marketing. “That’s exciting and important for us to notice.”
She said Canada has caught the world’s attention with the legalization of recreational cannabis and canna-tourism is the next big thing. “Now that edibles [have launched], it presents an even bigger opportunity for many cannabis-tourism experiences.”
Throughout the summit, attendees were introduced to a number of canna-tourism experiences that have emerged in response to demand by consumers for cannabis experiences, such as cannabis-friendly accommodations, activities (golf, yoga, art classes, et cetera), events and tours. Earlier this year, Sir Sam’s Inn & Spa in Eagle Lake, Ont. became Canada’s first pot-friendly resort. Visitors can now use recreational marijuana in designated areas on the premises during their cottaging weekend.
“Building a new cannabis product will present new revenue-generating opportunities for cannabis and tourism companies, alike,” said Mason.
The day included presentations from the world’s leading experts on cannabis tourism, as well as networking sessions with industry leaders and brand- and product-development sessions with cannabis-tourism companies such as Cannabis Hotels, On the Ridge, Tweed Visitor Centre and AeroPonLeaf Canada.
Additional sessions covered topics such as legal and compliance; public relations and social media; trends and data; and culinary-cannabis experiences.
The summit aimed to help individuals and companies who want to gain an insight into what cannabis tourism entails and what they can do in order to capitalize on recreational legalization.
“The message that we want to leave you with is we want you to go low and slow,” said Jacquie Court, owner, Once Upon a Brand — a Toronto-based agency offering branded content for all digital platforms and channels. “There’s a lot of opportunities in the space. This is a really exciting time to engage with your consumer and, by being creative, listening to the audience information and understanding your audience, you can create custom experiences that will really bring them in.”