There has been much discussion recently about the royal visit to Pictou County and its associated costs.
While this may be fodder for letters to the editor, Facebook and Twitter, there is a worthy counter argument about the associated benefits of the visit.
Regardless of the positive or negative sentiments towards royalty, no one can deny that there is a wide spread fascination about the royals.
The fact that their every move is so closely monitored by the media is proof positive that there is a sales component their existence.
As for the coverage that the recent visit drew, the Town of Pictou, Pictou County and the province could not afford an advertising budget that would bring this kind of exposure to our province and county.
While static displays such as the Ship Hector and Quay do bring tourists to the region, the buzz word now in tourism advertising is “event marketing”.
People are attracted to people more than they are places. A great example of this is the wonderful job Prince Edward Island has done in attracting high profile people and personalities to their tiny island and while their stay may only be short in duration, it was the fact that they were there that attracts people.
Liverpool England has made a huge industry out of the Beatles legacy and they haven’t lived there in 50 years.
The people coming to Pictou County are more interested in who used to live here than who lives here now. The Stan Rogers Folk Festival would not be the success it is today without the name of the late and great Stan Rogers attached to it.
People are looking for events and experiential vacations that make the new Yarmouth/Portland ferry such and intregel part of visiting our province.
So what’s all this have to do with business? Well a lot, considering that we are a seasonal destination and people wanting to see people is the reason that events like Westville’s July 1st celebration, Pictou’s Lobster Carnival, Stellarton’s Homecoming, New Glasgow’s Jubilee and Trenton’s Funfest have essentially become “homecoming” events that bring people and their money into the county thus creating an economic spin off for the entire region.
In a couple of recent newspaper and television public opinion polls only 30 percent of the locals said they were interested in seeing the royals, and that’s fine; but we are targeting that rest of the world that may not of heard of the Ship Hector or our Scottish heritage let alone Pictou County.
So let’s make target marketing our focus and the next time the royal family would like to visit Pictou County roll out the red carpet as we did on May 19th 2014.
Faus Johnson is a graduate of Dalhousie University and the University of Western Ontario Ivey School of Business and resides in the Town of Pictou