The Agawa Canyon Tour Train has been a signature attraction for decades, exposing visitors to the Northern Ontario wilderness and generating overnight stays for Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, benefiting the local tourism economy. CBRE was retained, in association with BC Hughes, by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation in partnership with CN Rail, to develop a new 10-year business plan along with a new operating model.
The process was multifaceted, and included research and review of regional tourism strategic plans, consultation with key stakeholders, a survey of train users as well as a review of consumer feedback and research regarding comparable operations. A list of 25 recommendations was reviewed and assessed and the four best bet scenarios for future enhancements were determined.
As the region’s number one tourism generator, it was important that the train’s business plan incorporate opportunities to operate the train more efficiently, enhance and add new revenue streams and ultimately increase visitation. BC Hughes spearheaded research to determine future programming opportunities, providing recommendations to increase the quality of the experience on the train, aimed at attracting additional visitors and increasing revenue. The resulting 10 Year Business Plan provided CN Rail with a strategy for future development of the experience and its operations, and will be used to determine best bet investments in the new future.