Integrated Destination Strategy

Background and vision

Kingston developed the Integrated Destination Strategy (IDS) in spring 2018 based on primary research with key stakeholders, a review of background documents, and a series of workshops with a steering committee. The committee’s vision was to foster a collaborative environment to bring stakeholders together and to develop a strategy that builds a stronger sense of place for Kingston’s residents, tourists and investors, respects taxpayer dollars, and is realistic in its approach.

The vision for Kingston’s IDS initiative is to foster a collaborative environment where industry stakeholders work together and lift each other up to sustainably grow tourism as an economic driver for Kingston. A collaborative environment is achieved when all partners are working collectively toward this common goal and each individual has the confidence and support of their colleagues.

Building on four years of progress in advancing the recommendations of the IDS while taking into consideration the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, a review of the IDS was completed in 2022 to set the direction for Kingston’s destination development for the next five years. The updated IDS was approved by the board of directors of Tourism Kingston and Kingston Accommodation Partners and Kingston City Council.

Guiding principles

  1. We focus on the betterment of Kingston residents through tourism, balancing economic objectives with social and environmental priorities.
  2. We collaborate across all tourism stakeholders – residents, tourism industry members, local/regional government, and key institutions and industries in Kingston to leverage tourism opportunities.
  3. We align with major city government and other public and private sector initiatives that reflect the tourism potential including leveraging creative industries, environmental initiatives, and similar priorities.
  4. We celebrate the diversity of our destination by striving to ensure all players in our tourism ecosystem are represented and included.
  5. We root our decisions in evidence and measure results of our actions enabling us to take calculated risks while also being accountable and responsible to all stakeholders

Integrated Destination Strategy: Co-creating an integrated destination strategy for Kingston – moving beyond recovery to destination resiliency, 2022-2027

For more information, please contact:

Megan Knott
Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Kingston

Learn more about Tourism Kingston

Integrated Destination Strategy, 2018-2022

The goal of the IDS, 2018-2022 was to effectively develop and manage Kingston as a tourism destination. The IDS identified four key pillars:

  • Infrastructure, transportation, and access
  • Visitor experience, product and experience development, and sense of place
  • Industry development
  • Policy and regulation

Overall, the IDS 2018-2022 aimed to define and articulate both the development, well as management of tourism in the city. Tourism growth is not the ultimate objective; rather it is the sustainable development and management of tourism to support the city’s sense of place for residents:

  • A place to live
  • A place to raise families
  • A place to attend university/college
  • A place to work
  • A place to invest and growth business

Tracking success

Policy and regulation

  • Standing tourism advisory committees: marketing, sales, attractions
  • Sector and partner engagement through governance, including Tourism Kingston board, and committees
  • Quarterly reporting to the City of Kingston and Kingston Accommodation Partners
  • Sector and partner reporting through Annual General Meeting
  • Memberships: Tourism Association of Canada, Tourism Association of Ontario, CGLCC (Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce), Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Indigenous Tourism Association of Ontario
  • Incorporated the Kingston Film Office as separate not-for-profit organization

Visitor experience, product and experience development, and sense of place

  • Visitor Information Centre renovated to improve customer service
  • Expansion of visitor services: launch of website chatbot, Kingston Pen pop-up tent, and community event booths
  • Development of winter illumination in downtown core December through March
  • Culinary product development: Kingstonlicious winter event, County Sips Wine Tours, partnership with Frontenac County for farm-to-table campaign and Open Farms
  • Supporting development in Kingston’s creative sectors: Kingston Association of Museums member web development sponsorship; sponsorships of Kingston Canadian Film Festival and WritersFest
  • Indigenous tourism development: creation of Indigenous Vendor Market in Springer Market Square
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion: Rainbow Registered organization; completed LGBT+ audit and assessment; Indigenous cultural training for staff; sponsorship of Kingston Pride
  • Alignment of Kingston destination brand across tourism and economic development

Infrastructure, transportation, and access

  • Airport expansion: runway extension and enhanced passenger terminal
  • Working with the City of Kingston to secure air service
  • Securing access to Kingston Penitentiary for tours and film production
  • Enhancing public spaces along the waterfront: Crawford Wharf, Confederation Basin, Delta Hotel walkway, Battery Park
  • Access and improvements to the Kingston Coal Dock, serving as the city’s temporary deep-water dock
  • Commissioned conference centre feasibility study

Industry development

  • Investment and development of Tourism Kingston team over the past three years: marketing, sales, Kingston Film Office
  • Creation of Sport Tourism Strategy with Floor13
  • Expansion of film and media production in Kingston including regional study and partnerships




Twenty31 has been awarded the contract to support co-creation of the Integrated Destination Strategy. The Twenty31 team brings extensive experience in destination development, management, and research in Ontario, in Canada, and across the globe.