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There is one major problem with tourism in this province and that is that most of the brain trust comes from fixed roof operators. There is no room at the table for boots on the ground folks such as tour operators or other folks who deal with people on a day to day basis.
Several years ago I was at an event where the deputy minister of tourism was astounded at the revenue generated by minor sports tournaments. She could not wrap her head around the fact that families would travel on weekends to places such as New Minas for soccer on a regular basis. These folks were not looking for four and five star B&Bs and country inns at that time. They were looking for a place where they could take the kids (for a reasonable rate), that had a pool where the kids could relax at the end of the day, family style restaurants that wouldn’t break the bank, and activities that the non sports members of the family could investigate while the rest were at the pitch/field/rink.
If you look at the tourism industry matrixes – this demographic is not in the mix. The province does not have these folks on their radar even though their definition of a tourist is someone who travels 50 km from home.
I was also at a tourism conference where the head of one of the marketing agencies said her group did a series of seminars/fact finding events during a time when most of the boots on the ground folks were running their businesses at peak season and couldn’t attend. Obviously there is something wrong with this picture.
Today I received a notice that the provincial material distribution centre in Dartmouth is closing. Once again, the folks running this were not looking at it from a customer service point of view. I was the director of a major tourism event several years ago and when I contacted them about distributing our rack cards via their service, they told me they could only accommodate x number of cards because of their storage limitations. If this organization was operating properly, why would items be stored on a shelf rather than being sent to visitor centres around the province where people could pick up the material. The attitude there needed a bit of a customer service upgrade – for example the major visitor centre in Halifax received, on average 90 lap map brochures to last the entire season. Also when I stopped in to the Blockhouse VIC a few years ago, there was absolutely NO information about Cape Breton. When one considers that this is the first rest stop for folks coming off the ferry from Maine heading to Cape Breton and they want information, why was it not provided.
This is a huge industry for this province, with great potential but saddled with leadership that doesn’t have a clue.
Carol Dobson | January 21, 2019 | Reply
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