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DEANS receives federal funding to improve tourism growth

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, left, New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks and Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores chair Wes Surrett were on hand for a federal funding announcement that saw the DEANS receive $116,000 for a new tourism planning strategy.
Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, left, New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks and Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores chair Wes Surrett were on hand for a federal funding announcement that saw the DEANS receive $116,000 for a new tourism planning strategy. - Sueann Musick

NEW GLASGOW, N.S.

A local tourism planning strategy will soon be in the works thanks to federal funding.

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser announced Friday that his government is contributing $116,000 to Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores to develop a tourism planning strategy for region. The funding was provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agencies. The total project is valued at over $200,000.

The strategy will include an audio-visual library, a brand-new regional tourism website complete with a mobile friendly app and online revenue generation capability, it will offer several workshops designed to build the experience and packaging with other operators, a social media and self-escorted digital tour strategy along with an events strategy.

The project will also focus on visitor services and making the most of our entry points. The project will be rounded out with the establishment of target market profiles and a branding and visual identity exercise for the communities that are included within the project. An accelerated market readiness program will also be rolled out with tourism operators who are interested in participating.

“The main objective of our tourism association is to have a significant impact on increasing tourist visitation to the Eastern and Northumberland Shores, which essentially leads to increased tourism revenue and increased municipal economic impact,” said Cindy MacKinnon, managing director with DEANS. “We must raise the bar on our products and experiences to motivate first-time visitors to meet and exceed their expectations while maintaining our repeat visitor numbers.”

The municipalities have also supported this project, providing financial contributions towards the overall concept with this strategy.

“DEANS continues to be a valuable resource for our region and this announcement today will offer more opportunity for our tourism association to develop experiences for the guests that visit our communities. We are proud to play a role in this project and look forward to the outcomes that realize our tourism potential,” said New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks.

“Obviously the county has been a big supporter of DEANS and the work they do to promote tourism in Antigonish County and all along the Northumberland Shore,” Municipality of the County of Antigonish Warden Owen McCarron said. “Obviously announcements like this help in creating a better experience for visitors to the area and, I think, opens up the community through different means, such as electronically, as well.

“It’s great and, I know, MP Fraser has been working hard in trying to support initiatives; so to see the tourism industry get this boost is welcomed.”

Wes Surrett, chair of DEANS, knows that many visitors to Nova Scotia appreciate the opportunity to get off the beaten path.

He explains that many of the tourists he interacts with are eager to get away from the more popular and overcrowded destinations. Many are eager to make new discoveries at their own pace and want to meet locals who are so interesting, friendly, genuine and talented.

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