The Bras d’Or Lakes Inn was the location for a meeting with Harvey Sawler, an independent consultant, who has been hired by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Economic Development for the Municipality of Richmond to come up with a new tourism brand for St. Peter’s. Sawler has worked with the Departments of Tourism in both PEI and New Brunswick in marketing and development as well as consultant for Destination Cape Breton Association. Tourism operators were invited by the Municipality to come out an express their ideas as to what the area had as a drawing agent for visitors. The consensus among the 20 operators present was the importance of the Bras d’Or Lake, especially now that it has been designated as an UNESCO Biosphere Site. The St. Peter’s Canal was also mentioned as an important sight that approximately 40,000 visitors stop off in the village to see, as well as our music, the fact that the village itself was a service area, where visitors can find a variety of excellent shops, museums, marina and restaurants which offer a variety of levels from family fair to one of the finest gourmet restaurants on the island, as well as essentials such as a service station, post office, bank and grocery and liquor stores and pharmacies. Although the area has a lot of attractions in the area that are of interest to the visitor, the main objective is to find that one aspect in the area that will stand out and entice visitors to pick St. Peter’s. Sawler will be holding one on one meetings with interested tourism operators to gather more information before he completes his report for the municipality.
A meeting was also held earlier in the day in Isle Madame with the same scenario to find their drawing card and then build on that. After speaking with members of the tourism industry in Isle Madame to see what had been accomplished at their meeting, the consensus was that, of all the attractions that the island has to offer, the one factor that would make the island stand out was their coastline. Isle Madame is rich in coastline which surrounds several communities, although the one obstacle was making sure the visitor could gain access to the coastline. Sawler will also be doing one on one meetings with operators on the island before submitting his full report in 4-6 weeks.