INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP PROMOTES LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK
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.”
“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.
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.