Bring on sum­mer and tourism

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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