Sk­er­wink Trail a shin­ing ex­am­ple for Tourism South­west AGM

Lots of lo­cal po­ten­tial for vis­i­tors seek­ing out­door ad­ven­ture: Vi­vian

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - News - BY ROSALYN ROY Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

Tourism South­west held its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing at the Ho­tel Port aux Basques on Tues­day, Nov. 7.

Thanks to the levy fee – an op­tional tourism charge ap­plied by par­tic­i­pat­ing hote­liers – the or­ga­ni­za­tion funded $126,000 worth of projects in the past two years. The de­mand for more, re­ported pres­i­dent Scott Ryan, sur­passed its abil­ity to fi­nance.

One of the projects in­cluded pur­chas­ing a brush cut­ter to im­prove walk­ing trails be­tween Bay St. George and Port aux Basques.

Guest speaker John Vi­vian, who helped build the Sk­er­wink Trail as a des­ti­na­tion walk­ing trail, de­scribed at length the al­most 20-year en­deavor and re­sult­ing eco­nomic growth to Port Rex­ton, a town of about 350.

Five years ago, the trail had 11,000 vis­its. This past year there were 32,000.

“That’s a lot of spin off,” said Vi­vian, who be­lieves walk­ing trails in the south­west coast re­gion are al­ready well es­tab­lished.

Vi­vian pointed out the Wreck­house is al­ready a fa­mil­iar area within the prov­ince and even be­yond. He rec­om­mends build­ing a trail called the Wreck­house Trail, and us­ing it as the linch­pin of coastal trail net­work.

Vi­vian, who has 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the tourism in­dus­try, out­lined an al­most step- by- step plan based on his own ex­pe­ri­ence with the Sk­er­wink Trail, which Travel & Leisure Mag­a­zine has ranked as one of the top 35 in North Amer­ica and Europe. Key among them was invit­ing travel writ­ers to re­view the trail sys­tem in the re­gion.

“Travel writ­ers are the ones who are go­ing to put you on the map,” ad­vised Vi­vian, who says men­tion of the trail and Port Rex­ton once ap­peared in The Lon­don Times.

In 2019 Sk­er­wink Trail will cel­e­brate its 20th an­niver­sary. Vi­vian says Port Rex­ton is now rid­ing a boon di­rectly be­cause of the trail. The town has its own brew­ery and town coun­cil is work­ing to clear land for new builds. Some houses sell for over the half-mil­lion-dol­lar mark, and be­cause tourists de­manded it, Sk­er­wink now re­tails its own mer­chan­dise such as T-shirts, wa­ter bot­tles, and base­ball caps. There are even a few jobs now, since the trail sus­tains it­self fi­nan­cially.

“You guys can do the same here.”


John Vi­vian was an in­for­ma­tive guest speaker at the re­cent Tourism South­west AGM.

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