E.D. Corner: December 2023

Good day,

As we find ourselves immersed in the festive glow of holiday decorations and the warmth of seasonal cheer, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the spirit of sharing that makes this time of year truly special. The holiday season is not only a time for reconnecting with family and friends but also an opportunity for businesses to come together, sharing best practices, successes, and the unique stories that make our region shine.

Sharing Best Practices: A Recipe for Success

In the spirit of giving, let’s consider the idea of sharing best practices among businesses. Just as a treasured family recipe is passed down through generations, the knowledge and insights gained from running a successful enterprise can be invaluable when shared with fellow entrepreneurs. Whether it’s innovative marketing strategies, effective customer engagement, or streamlined operational processes, the act of sharing best practices fosters a collaborative environment where everyone can thrive.

Celebrating Successes: Milestones and Achievements

As we toast to the successes of the past year, let’s not forget to share our triumphs. Each business, like a unique ornament on a holiday tree, contributes to the overall beauty of our region. Whether it’s reaching a significant milestone, launching a successful campaign, or receiving recognition for outstanding service, these successes deserve to be shared. By celebrating each other’s achievements, we not only spread joy but also inspire others to reach for new heights in the coming year.

Spotlight on Each Other’s Businesses: Sharing the Spotlight

Just as the twinkling lights of holiday decorations illuminate the darkness, shining a spotlight on each other’s businesses can brighten the entire community. Recommending and promoting neighboring businesses creates a ripple effect of support. A rising tide lifts all boats, and by actively engaging with and promoting the offerings of fellow entrepreneurs, we enhance the overall visitor experience in our region.

Gratitude: The Heart of the Holiday Season

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s essential to pause and express gratitude. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who contributes to making our region a vibrant and inviting destination. Your hard work, creativity, and dedication do not go unnoticed, and it’s the collective effort of businesses like yours that makes our community truly special.

Wishing You a Joyous Holiday Season

As we approach the end of the year, I want to wish you and your teams a joyous holiday season filled with laughter, good company, and moments of shared happiness. May the new year bring continued success, collaborative ventures, and the fulfillment of your aspirations.

Thank you for all that you do to make our region remarkable. Here’s to a season of sharing, gratitude, and prosperity.

Warm regards,


Wait, wait!!!  That wasn’t really me.  And I am hoping that those of you that read these introductions regularly, noticed that the style was off just a touch.

You see, I keep hearing that AI can help us work smarter, not harder and I wanted to test it for myself. What you read above is the output from a “conversation” I had with ChatGPT. Here it is:


Each month I write the introduction to our B2B newsletter.  The audience is business owners, not-for-profit staff and municipal staff who are responsible for developing and delivering tourism in their communities.  Tourism is a big driver of the economy in all cities and towns in York Region, Durham Region and Headwaters Tourism Region.  When organizations work together to welcome people to their communities, they are not only creating a destination, they are instilling pride of place in their residents.  There has been a lot of talk in the last six months about how AI will be able to support destination development and I would like to test this theory.  I am going to copy and paste three or four of the articles I have written this year and I would like you to learn my writing style.  Once that has been complete, I will set some parameters for you to write the December newsletter introduction.  Is this something you can do?


I’m unable to browse external websites or access specific documents, including your past articles. However, you can certainly provide me with excerpts or key points from your previous newsletter introductions, and I’ll do my best to understand and replicate your writing style. Once you share that information, we can proceed with creating a December newsletter introduction based on your preferences and guidelines. Feel free to provide the content you’d like me to learn from, and we can continue from there!

I then copied and pasted four of the articles from this year’s intro and received this:


Thank you for providing the fourth article. I have a good understanding of your writing style and the content you typically include in your newsletter introductions. If you have any specific preferences or guidelines for the December newsletter introduction, please let me know, and we can proceed with crafting a piece that aligns with your expectations.


For the December article, I want to focus on the holiday season and relate it to how businesses should be working together. The holiday season is a time when people make time to reconnect with their families and friends and they should also be doing the same thing with their neighbouring businesses.  I also want to thank everyone for all of the effort they put in year-after-year to make our region a great place to visit.  And, of course, wish them all the best of the holiday season from all of us at Central Counties Tourism.  I am looking forward to seeing what is produced.


Certainly, I’ll craft an article focused on the holiday season, emphasizing the importance of businesses working together and expressing gratitude for the collective efforts that make the region a wonderful place to visit. I’ll also include warm holiday wishes from Central Counties Tourism. I’ll get to work on this and provide you with a draft soon. If you have any specific details or themes you’d like me to incorporate, please let me know.


Themes of sharing:  sharing best practices, sharing successes, sharing information about each other’s businesses.


Absolutely, I’ll incorporate the theme of sharing throughout the article. It will emphasize the significance of businesses sharing best practices, successes, and information about each other’s endeavors during the holiday season. This will highlight the collaborative spirit that contributes to the region’s overall appeal. I’ll aim to capture this theme while expressing gratitude and extending warm holiday wishes. I’ll work on the draft and provide it to you soon. If you have any specific points or details you’d like me to include, feel free to let me know.


How is the article coming along? (about three hours later)


I appreciate your patience. Here’s a draft of the article with the theme of sharing, gratitude, and the holiday season: (Received the E.D. Intro used above)

Looking at this interaction objectively, which basically means removing the creepiness of what AI seems to be able to do, I am not sure if I saved too much time or effort. The article that the AI generated was 529 words, however it took me 362 words to explain what I wanted it to do.  I posted what it spat out word-for-word, but if I wasn’t using it as an example of what AI is capable of, I would have definitely edited it down quite a bit to give it a bit more of my “voice”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good metaphor as much as the next person, but they were flying fast and furious in every paragraph.  So, for this particular task, perhaps AI didn’t save too much time.  As I write this now, I realize it wasn’t really a fair test and that is because a) I love writing these from scratch and b) I am never at a loss for words when writing them.  Because I know what I want to talk about and how I want to say it, there really is no advantage of using AI.  However, just from what I have learned from the above interaction, it is going to be extremely useful for times when you don’t have everything figured out and need an idea generator and/or have several pieces of content that you need produced.  I am going to do another test live right now and see what it produces.

Okay, I am back after less than two minutes on ChatGPT.  Here was the interaction.


I am going to copy and paste the executive summary from our 2024-2025 business plan.  Please create five social media posts that speak to why stakeholders should be engaging with Central Counties Tourism.


Certainly! Please provide me with the executive summary from your 2024-2025 business plan, and I’ll be happy to craft five social media posts for Central Counties Tourism.

I cut and paste the Executive Summary and Defining Success for CCT sections (still in draft)


Certainly! Here are five social media posts tailored to highlight key points from the Central Counties Tourism 2024-2025 business plan:

 Post 1: Community Success Stories

🌐 Central Counties Tourism has empowered every municipality in Durham Region to thrive through Community Tourism Plans. With growing investments and programming, residents are witnessing the vibrancy of their communities blossom. Engage with us as we continue this journey in 2024-2025! #DestinationSuccess #CommunityVibrancy

 Post 2: Partnership Power

💼 In 2023-2024, our Partnership Program saw a fourfold increase in engagement, totaling close to $600,000 in stakeholder investments. Your support, coupled with our Government of Ontario funding, drives an incredible return on investment! Join hands with us for fiscal 2024-2025 and be a part of the success story. #CollaborateToThrive #PartnershipImpact

 Post 3: Augmented Reality for All

🚀 Breaking barriers with technology! Central Counties Tourism made augmented reality accessible to all stakeholders. Our customizable “tour guide” technology enhances experiences at a fraction of the cost. Engage with us as we continue to revolutionize the way we explore and share our incredible destinations! #TechInTourism #ARforAll

 Post 4: IRM Networking Events

🤝 Our Industry Relations Managers (IRMs) have taken stakeholder engagement to new heights! From supporting content development to hosting networking events, they’ve fostered collaborations that drive growth. Join us in 2024-2025 as we continue building connections that shape the future of our region. #StakeholderCollaboration #NetworkingSuccess

 Post 5: Route Development Toolkit Unveiled

🗺️ Exciting news! In 2024-2025, Central Counties Tourism is launching a Route Development Toolkit. This free workshop will guide stakeholders through creating collaborations, fostering mutual growth, and making projects more engaging. Be part of this transformative journey! #RouteToSuccess #EngageAndGrow

 Feel free to customize these posts to fit your social media platform’s character limits and add relevant hashtags for increased visibility.

In less than 2 minutes, the AI was able to correctly identify five of our biggest priorities / successes and turn them into short social posts, including some really smart hashtags.  If we actually wanted to do a series of posts on this topic, we now have a starting point and would just edit them to ensure our voice was consistent.  I am sure if I asked it for 10 posts, or 20, it would have been just as fast.  I am actually quite impressed with the level of detail and the speed at which it generated these ideas, which also give you a sneak peak into what we are hoping to accomplish next fiscal.

The one thing we all need is time and, if you haven’t tried AI yet (ChatGPT is at www.chat.openai.com), perhaps you have just been gifted more of it.  Of course, it is going to take you a bit of time to get a feel for what it can do for you and your organization specifically, but once you have mastered it, adding AI to your arsenal of tools may increase the amount of time you have for other things.

I know that this is a long one, and I thank you for sticking with it to the end. The entire team at Central Counties Tourism wishes you the very best for the holidays, full of fun and laughter with family and friends.  We are looking forward to reconnecting in the new year to discuss how we can help you along your journey to grow the visitor economy and your business success.  As always, I encourage you to reach out to me directly with any questions or ideas you have for us.  I am at cthibeault@centralcounties.ca.

Happy Holidays!

Chuck (or is it…)



Central Counties is located North of Toronto


Find Resources in Your Region

E.D. Corner

Every month, Chuck brings you the latest and greatest here in the E.D. Corner. Read the Latest

Chuck Thibeault

Executive Director, Chuck Thibeault