Bring on summer and tourism
Nova Scotia’s tourism industry is looking forward to another strong year.
Between Americans wanting to check us out and Canada 150 celebrations, a positive season appears to be on the horizon.
The winery bus has already started. The CAT ferry has reported bookings are up significantly. Last year, tourism revenue in Nova Scotia reached $2.6 billion and this generated almost $300 million in tax revenue for all levels of government.
I was interested to note that the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) asked parties during the recent provincial election for a position on a number of issues. One area the association showed concern about is the lack of implementation around the 2011 Natural Resource Strategy. A healthy environment goes hand and hand with a healthy tourism industry, TIANS says, so the recommendations from the strategy around clear cutting targets, harvesting volumes and methods and herbicide spraying were pegged as important. No tourist wants to hike a clearcut.
Meanwhile, eight Maritime MPs are seeking ways to double tourism numbers around the Bay of Fundy. I like the notion of Bill Casey, MP for Cumberland-Colchester, calling the members of Parliament from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, who can “dip their toes into the bay,” a Bay of Fundy caucus.
According to Casey, these MPs have a five-year agenda to boost tourism numbers and bring more focus to the region. Remember, the Seven Wonders website puts the Bay of Fundy second on a list of North America’s seven natural wonders, just after the Grand Canyon.
After all, we have the highest tides in the world, some of the oldest communities in Canada, and while here, tourists can discover UNESCO world heritage sites. Casey is also promoting whale watching and wineries.
The MP from across the bay wants this new caucus to launch a feedback-gathering mission around the region to identify tourism hot spots. After an inventory is drawn up, Casey says, plans and greater collaboration between the two Maritime provinces will prevail.
Among them would be an expanded trail system. New Brunswick could link to the East Coast Greenway, a 4,800-kilometre traffic-free trail system along the eastern seaboard from the Canadian border as far as Key West, Florida. Casey likes the idea of extending the Fundy Trail in New Brunswick,
envisioning a trail all the way around the Bay of Fundy. Add the Harvest Moon Trail into the mix…
The other day, I picked up Jan Sebastian LePierre’s picture book, A is for Adventure. He details many of the natural reasons the outdoors is foundational. Whether you bike or kayak or beach walk, the rural parts of the Maritimes are unique and special. Visitors from big cities can readily appreciate what we have in abundance.
As Italian actress Eleonora Duse once said, “If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
That’s a pretty good reason for spending time in the bounteous nature of the Maritimes.