Ottawa event could encourage more visitors to come to Cape Breton
Ottawa event aimed at bringing tourists to Cape Breton.
A Destination Cape Breton official is hoping potential tourists will be inspired to visit the island after attending a special event in Ottawa this summer.
Cape Breton Island will be showcased in the nation’s capital to millions of potential visitors at an event called Inspiration Village.
It will take place from May 20Sept. 4 in the Byward Market, featuring provinces, territories, culture, art and performances from across the country. Part of Ottawa’s downtown core will be transformed into a hub made completely out of sea containers. Destination Cape Breton Association will transform one of those containers into a lifesize depiction of what Cape Breton offers.
“To have a place in Inspiration Village presents a huge opportunity for Cape Breton Island to stand on a national stage during this four-month event,” says Mary Tulle, CEO, Destination Cape Breton Association, who was promoting Cape Breton at a Calgary trade show on Wednesday.
“Inspiration Village is a celebration, not just of Canada’s 150th, but of Ottawa. The mayor of Ottawa very much wanted to showcase all of Canada not just to Canadians but to the anticipated 11 million people that will be visiting Ottawa. So we are there with many other provinces and with Parks Canada and with other partners.”
Tulle says there is no cost to participate in Inspiration Village. “The costs that are incurred are for the decor, for the branding, but again, there’s the opportunity to have 11 million people see Cape Breton coming into the Byward Market.”
Destination Cape Breton staff and a travel counsellor who has worked with the marketing organization before will look after the site and will be doing it on a rotational basis.
Tulle says Inspiration Village is a great marketing opportunity, especially since Ontario is a key market for Cape Breton tourism.
“In the first quarter alone we’ve had an 86 per cent increase in visitors from Ontario to our website,” she said. “A 140 per cent increase this year over last year in visitors from Ontario since we started our
advertising campaign … all of Ontario is a very lucrative markets for us.
‘To have an opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with not just people from Ontario but people from potentially across Canada and around the world is a very positive way for us to be able to profile the great destination of Cape Breton Island on a very small budget.”
Expectations are high for a good tourism season this year. In a recent press release, Parks Canada says its online camping reservations are up 85 per cent over last year — a year that saw about 300,000 visitors make their way to Cape Breton Highlands National Park— largely due to the release of the free Parks Canada Discovery Passes.
“These are really some wonderful opportunities to be able to engage and promote and hopefully convert visitors,” said Tulle.
“As a key market for Cape Breton, our goal is to reach as many visitors as possible during our time in Inspiration Village and plant the seed that Cape Breton Island is an adventure you need to take.”
This is an artist’s rendition of Inspiration Village in Ottawa, the site of a succession of special exhibits and performing arts events, each one showcasing Canada’s provinces and territories.