Vision (Canada) - - Affaires • Business - GREGG CHAM­BER­LAIN gregg.cham­ber­

Pres­cott-Rus­sell’s lo­cal food and drink will be­come one of the stars of a new in­ter­na­tio­nal partnership pro­ject to pro­mote agro-tou­rism for On­ta­rio and Qué­bec and two Ame­ri­can states.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­ni­ty to be part of this in­ter­na­tio­nal pro­ject to bring in more tou­rism,” said War­den Fran­çois St-Amour of the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell (UCPR). “Agri­cul­ture is the cor­ners­tone of our coun­ties and of our he­ri­tage. Agro­tou­rism is an ex­cellent way to pro­mote our lo­cal pro­ducts.”

War­den St-Amour and other of­fi­cials for the UCPR, fe­de­ral go­vern­ment, the Ver­mont state tou­rism de­part­ment, and CANAMEX, an agen­cy in­vol­ved in de­ve­lo­ping and pro­mo­ting bi­la­te­ral bu­si­ness pro­jects re­la­ted to agri­cul­ture bet­ween Ca­na­da and the Uni­ted States, ga­the­red at the Beau’s All Na­tu­ral Bre­wing Co. in Vank­leek Hill Au­gust 29 to an­nounce plans for an “in­ter­na­tio­nal food trail” pro­ject running from Ver­mont, through New York state, up in­to Qué­bec’s Pon­tiac and Ga­ti­neau re­gions, and across the Ot­ta­wa Ri­ver in­to Pres­cott-Rus­sell.

“The whole point of this is to pro­mote sus­tai­nable agri­cul­ture,” said David Gilles­pie, CANAMEX foun­der and spo­kes­man, ad­ding that the first phase of this in­ter­na­tio­nal food trail pro­ject will fo­cus on buil­ding on exis­ting agro­tou­rism ef­forts in each of the four par­ti­ci­pa­ting states and pro­vinces and ex­pan­ding from there.

“Your re­gion (Pres­cott-Rus­sell) is the first one in On­ta­rio for this,” said Gilles­pie. “Other re­gions should en­vy you.”

“We are ex­ci­ted to be in­vol­ved in this,” said Wen­dy Knight, Ver­mont state com­mis­sio­ner for tou­rism and mar­ke­ting. “We in Ver­mont have a long his­to­ry of agro­tou­rism. We feel ve­ry stron­gly about de­ve­lo­ping co­ope­ra­tion and col­la­bo­ra­tion. This (pro­ject) is an op­por­tu­ni­ty for a mo­del of ci­vil dis­course.”

“I’m ex­tre­me­ly proud that Pres­cott-Rus­sell has been cho­sen as a des­ti­na­tion,” said MP Fran­cis Drouin, ad­ding that partnership pro­jects like this bet­ween re­gions of Ca­na­da and the U.S. are im­por­tant for the sur­vi­val of lo­cal tou­rism eco­no­mies. “We’re com­pe­ting against other conti­nents (for tou­rism) so we have to put our North Ame­ri­can hats on.”

Pres­cott-Rus­sell as­sets

“Your big­gest as­set is your bi­lin­gua­lism,” said Gilles­pie, ad­ding that CANAMEX will make a pre­sen­ta­tion on the new in­ter­na­tio­nal food trail pro­ject at this year’s World Con­gress in Ita­ly on agro­tou­rism. “This is going to be the lon­gest (food) trail and the most in­te­gra­ted of all.”

“People love to tra­vel,” said Com­mis­sio­ner Knight, “and they want to taste the lo­cal pro­duce, the lo­cal beer, the lo­cal wine.” Com­mis­sio­ner Knight al­so com­pa­red the va­lue of the partnership in re­fe­rence to the cur­rent un­set­tled trade si­tua­tion bet­ween Ca­na­da and the U.S.

“It’s im­por­tant that we come to­ge­ther as a re­gion and mar­ket our­selves as a re­gion,” she said. “Ca­na­da is Ver­mont’s num­ber one tra­ding part­ner, and we have deep and fa­mi­liar cultu­ral ties. Cross-bor­der tra­vel and trade is ve­ry im­por­tant to Ver­mont, and it’s im­por­tant that we work to­ge­ther, re­gard­less of who’s in of­fice, to streng­then those ties.”

The in­ter­na­tio­nal food trail partnership pro­ject bet­ween the two pro­vinces and states is just get­ting star­ted. All four part­ners will be­gin work on de­ve­lop­ment plan­ning, in­clu­ding de­vi­sing a name for the pro­po­sed trail route, de­si­gning bro­chures, web­sites, and other pro­mo­tio­nal aids with the goal of ha­ving eve­ry­thing rea­dy for the start of the 2019 spring or sum­mer tou­rism sea­sons. War­den St-Amour no­ted that Tou­risme Pres­cott-Rus­sell Tou­rism would be the per­fect agen­cy to help spea­rhead Pres­cott-Rus­sell’s ef­forts in the pro­ject de­ve­lop­ment.

—pho­to Gregg Cham­ber­lain

Le pré­sident Fran­çois St-Amour des Com­tés unis de Pres­cott-Rus­sell (CUPR) et Wen­dy Knight, com­mis­saire d’État au tou­risme et au mar­ke­ting du Ver­mont, fêtent le suc­cès fu­tur d’un nou­veau par­te­na­riat entre les États de Ver­mon et de New York un pro­jet de sen­tier in­ter­na­tio­nal pour pro­mou­voir l’in­dus­trie agro-tou­ris­tique.

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