PICTOU – The royal visit to Pictou this month might be brief but it is expected to leave a lasting impression, says the director of the local tourism association.
Cindy MacKinnon, managing director with the regional tourism association, Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores, said Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are a well-watched couple and their presence will be well photographed and documented while they are in the county May 19.
The royal couple will arrive in Halifax earlier in the day and then fly to Trenton airport for a brief stopover in Pictou for a tour of the Hector Heritage Quay around 4 p.m. They are expected to walk partway along Caladah Avenue on their way to the Quay so the public can catch of glimpse of them. After about an hour and a half, they will depart Trenton airport and head to Prince Edward Island.
“People around the world, whether a royal follower or not, watch, read or listen to the news and many media programs mention where the royals are visiting,” said MacKinnon. “Whether it’s the mention of Nova Scotia, Pictou County or a photo that is showcased, we will be getting plenty of attention from this visit. Even if one per cent of the people who see, hear or read about this visit go on the Internet and Google Pictou County and learn one thing that we have to offer from a tourism perspective, this could result in significant tourism revenue and visitation.”
She said Pictou County is already benefiting from the scheduled visit because some areas also included in the royal tour, such as Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, and Heritage Canada already have the Hector Heritage Quay listed on their websites, Facebook and Twitter sites.
“Before the story broke on the royal visit coming to Pictou, we weren’t being talked about on these sites,” she said. “This is what this royal visit will do for us.”
MacKinnon said the power of tourism is often underestimated, but it’s all about creating experiences and making memories.
“We often take for granted what we have in our backyard,” she said. “Having a bald eagle land atop a tree is something we bypass so often because it’s a natural occurrence in our part of the country, for some travellers this is an opportunity that they can’t experience. For others it’s our quality of life or our many festivals and events that continue to impress visitors.”
MacKinnon said there are very few areas in the province that can boast about having a festival or event taking place every weekend between May and October, not to mention the other festivities that are held in the off-season.
“Our region has so much to offer from culinary to accommodations to attractions to culture to outdoor activities – we need everyone to promote what we have rather than what we don’t have or what we can’t do, we really do have a lot to be proud of when you look through a traveller’s eyes,” she said.
MacKinnon also made note of the fact that the royal visit would not have happened if it weren’t for people having pride in the hometown, especially people like Central Nova MP Peter MacKay.
“This visit is a prime example of Peter’s influence in this nation,” she said. “This visit will do more than what is on the surface and we are proud to play a role in the royal visit.”