Nova Scotia... advertising for tourists

In March, 2008 I drafted this blog... since we have been focused on other personal issues, I didn't get back to it, so I am going to post it, and make some insertions that reflect on the original issue....

A few days ago I received a copy of a letter to the editor of the Halifax Chronicle Herald from an Oyster Ponder, Ron Smith. Ron was lamenting the fact that in his winter digs around Ontario he sees advertising for New Brunswick and PEI, but none for Nova Scotia. He also says that he sees ads for Nova Scotia when he is in Nova Scotia... but not elsewhere.

From our outpost here in Florida this winter, we also have not seen advertising for Nova Scotia... in either the local papers or TV and while we skower the New York Times we don't see Bluenoser ads there, either. BTW, and especially for the uninitiated, Bluenoser is the traditional name given to people from Nova Scotia and is derived from the name of a champion racing schooner that is now depicted on the reverse of the Canadian Dime.

What we do see however is a lot of angst about the economy and fuel prices... we are now at $3.70 per US gallon, and looking at $4.00 for the trip back north in a couple of weeks. It took us $300 to get south during the winter in the trusty Volvo... it will cost us all of $195 in the new Prius which starts the payback. My point is however, that everyone doesn't drive a Prius, and it will be hard to expect Americans to travel North and East with $4.00 gas, and the Loonie at par with the Buck.

This then leans back to Ron's letter in that there are folks in Ontario and Quebec... not to mention the west... that might consider coming East... all the way to Nova Scotia... if they saw ads that made them feel welcome. The NB and PEI ads are good enough that those Canadians coming east might see it as reasonable to stop there and not come to NS.

There is a chance that the management folks at tourism might be thinking that their ad money will go further in Europe where the Euro has jumped to incredible heights against the Loonie and the Buck. But according to the New York Times, the Europeans are flocking to NY City and parts of the USA that are advertising aggressively in Europe. There may be a few that want to come to Nova Scotia... but don't bet on it... they have been waiting for years to get a good exchange rate on the Buck, and this is their year.

SO where does that leave us... we need a comprehensive review of the tourism industry, and a new attitude about what we will be offering tourists when they come to our province. We need foggy and rainy day programs; we need beaches with life-guards and change houses with real toilets and canteens; we need access to the water with all types of boats, kayaks, and other means to see our beauty from the water; we need clearly marked and conditioned hiking trails and so on.

Tourism is a misnomer in the 21st Century. People don't just tour anymore... today, they want experiences. There is access to beautiful places all over the world. From Patigonia to the Great Barrier Reef to Iceland... people can get to the beauty. They want to do things when they get there... and we need to tell people what they can do here, if we want them to come.

I wrote the foregoing in a draft, and never launched it... I have been away from the blog as we have been dealing with Mother's illness... so I want to reflect a little with what I was saying...

Well, here we are going into August... we did get the $4.00 US Gallon this summer... and here in Nova Scotia we have been as high as $1.42 per liter... for the folks in the USA, that is $5.24 per US Gallon. I heard from my friend Bart Segers in Antwerp, Belgium that he is paying over $12.00 per US Gallon. So where will this take us...

The tourism business, real tourists, is in big trouble here in the east, and if business travel wasn't holding things in shape here in Halifax... I have to wonder. The Cabot Trail is empty of cars!

I understand that the Canadian Federal Government is publishing a finding on tourism in Canada. Of course it will be positive... the west is hot, and the far north is growing. Ontario and Quebec are holding their own... but the east... we are toast. Even Air Canada is holding it's nose as it cuts the flight attendant base from Halifax. Our Minister of Tourism is Bill Dooks... an Eastern Shore home builder who knows nothing about tourism and his boss used to be the Minister of Tourism... Rodney McDonald still doesn't get it either... we need to be able to give the touring public something exciting to do here... or they will not come... certainly not with the costs of getting and touring here.

Just a thought.


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