Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tourism in Richmond County

Tourism is going full speed ahead with the tourism season quickly approaching. I have already seen RVs and cars from the US on our highways. They are our early visitors; wanting to beat the rush of traffic and crowds during the summer. And although they may be early for a lot of the entertainment, they are still able to take in the beautiful scenery for which we are now well known. Because visitors are starting to travel earlier, a lot of our tourism operators who run gift shops have already opened their doors for business, which is great to see. And events such as the Spring Food and Wine Pairing at the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn are taking place now in the shoulder season to offer guests an opportunity to take advantage of a class “A” event before the tourism season gets rolling. The Inn will be hosting the Wine Pairing dinner on May 26th with the reception starting at 7pm. More information can be obtained by going to the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn website at . This past Wednesday Destination Cape Breton Association (DCBA) held there Industry Day and Awards Dinner at the Delta in Sydney. It was nice to see so many old friends take time from getting ready for the busy season ahead to take in the event. Approximately 115 operators and members from the different municipality groups took in the event. Guest speaker Allan Clarke, CEO of Northern Ireland’s Tourism Department, gave an amazing and informative talk on tourism in Northern Ireland and the obstacles that they had to overcome to now have their tourism industry have a place in the vibrant international tourism market. Northern Ireland has worked very hard to create a tourism strategy that works and which is a building block for the rest of the tourism destinations around the world to learn from and grow. It was especially interesting for Cape Breton as we have a lot of similarities. It was also very interesting and inspiring to hear Mary Tulle, CEO of Destination Cape Breton Association, as she gave an overview of Destination Cape Breton’s Tourism Strategy for the upcoming year. Tulle has come a long way in restructuring the association and regaining the confidence of tourism operators from all around the island. This was apparent from the number of tourism operators in attendance from all areas of the island and the amount of applause that she received on conclusion of her presentation. It will be very interesting to see if this season’s tourism numbers reflect the implementation of the strategy. As Cape Bretoners, we can take pride in the face that our island was named #1 in North America and #3 as an island as a travel destination and we now have a tourism Association that is setting the pace for other tourism departments to follow. Congratulation to Tulle and her team of hard working and dedicated professionals, who are keeping us in the forefront of the tourism market.

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