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St. Jacobs' Web Site provides Benefits for Tourists and Retailers

ST. JACOBS, Ontario (June 25, 1997) - It's ironic to think that a village which works hard to maintain an 1890's atmosphere is counting on 1990's technology to help them boost local tourism. But that's exactly what the town of St. Jacobs is hoping to do with their recently launched Internet web site.

Located on the web at "www.stjacobs.com", St. Jacobs Online is an attempt to promote blue skies, fresh air and green grass to city dwellers from all over the world. The site, maintained by St. Jacobs Country Tourism (Mercedes Corporation), boasts up to date event information, maps, an accommodation and dining guide, shopping information, and more.

St. Jacobs Online was launched in early May, and has since attracted over 1,100 unique visitors from around the world. "The response to the web site has been overwhelming," says Byron Shantz, Tourism Manager for Mercedes. "We are constantly receiving inquiries from people looking to visit St. Jacobs from Canada, the United States, and overseas." In fact, only about 20% of all people who visit the web site come from Canada, which means that St. Jacobs Online is attracting potential new visitors from all over the world.

These virtual visitors should translate into real dollars in the near future. Additions such as secure online shopping, a searchable business directory and other interactive elements have been discussed with St. Jacob's Retail Association, who have reacted with great enthusiasm to the idea. "Our retailers especially like the idea that during the winter, when sales are typically slow, the Internet should help generate additional income," adds Shantz.

The current version of the web site, although very helpful to Internet users, is only the beginning. Developed by The Galileo Group, a technology firm located in Kitchener, Ontario, St. Jacobs Online holds great potential. "The technology is available to offer the entire town a complete retail presence on the Internet," says Galileo's V.P. of Marketing, Bryon Thur. "Now, it's just a matter of time before a complete strategy is implemented."

In the meantime, while plans are being laid and strategies devised, St. Jacobs Online will continue greeting new visitors in a friendly, country-like manner on the Internet.

For more information call: Byron Shantz, St. Jacobs Country Tourism at (519) 664-1133, or by e-mail at byron@stjacobs.com. Bryon Thur, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, The Galileo Group Inc., can be reached at (519) 576-8317; for Internet inquiries, visit their web site at "www.galileo-group.com".

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