Montpelier, VT (PRWEB) November 20, 2013
Choose from slopeside events and special offers at ski resorts, plus festive holiday lodging deals at inns statewide. Enjoy bustling shops and vibrant galleries in Vermont’s 24 Designated Downtowns. Several towns host the 50/50 Challenge, a series of holiday events and sales that ensure a jolly good time for shoppers filling hard-to-stuff stockings! Complete listings and websites for these events are at http://www.VermontVacation.com/pressroom.
Festival of Trees
Nov. 24 – Dec. 30, Bennington
Festival of Trees “Around the World” is a community created exhibit of 20 uniquely designed and decorated holiday trees. Additional items from the museum’s collection produce a perfect blend of current design with historical elements. There’s also several traditional and tabletop trees created by local schoolchildren to admire. Benningtonmuseum.org
Chandler Gallery Holiday Bazaar
Wednesdays, now – Dec. 23, Randolph
Quality, fine and functional arts and crafts and local specialty food products by 40 artisans will be showcased in a festive holiday setting. Shoppers find a wide array of affordable fine gifts for the holidays, open Wednesdays 6-8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Chandlergallery.blogspot.com/
Candy Cane Making
Nov. 27 – Dec. 22, Stowe
Fun, family-friendly demonstrations begin at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Additional 2 p.m. demos take place on Saturdays. Watch for free or register ahead to make your own candy cane for $6.00. The folks at Laughing Moon do their best to accommodate everyone but please note registering ensures a lesson. Laughingmoonchocolates.com
Bellows Falls & Walpole Artisan Tour
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, Bellows Falls
Studio artists open their studios and sell their wares on Thanksgiving weekend. Several artists will have work for sale and demonstrations at 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls. Walpoleartisans.org
35th Annual Putney Craft Tour
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, Putney
Demos, food, handcrafted shopping along scenic back roads. Blacksmiths, glass blowers, potters, jewelers, weavers, woodworkers – even artisan cheesemakers. Putneycrafts.com
Nov. 29 – Jan. 1, Manchester
Come enjoy the dozens of events happening in Manchester all holiday season! Lighted tractor parade, wine tastings, inn tours, tree lightings, horse-drawn wagon rides and world-class shopping are how Manchester & the Mountains celebrates the holiday season! Visitmanchestervt.com
Ri Ra’s Santa 5k Run
Dec. 1, Burlington
The Ri Ra’s Santa 5k Run is Vermont’s first and only all Santa Race! The course starts on historic Church Street and features a rolling course with one tough hill on Battery Street. All participants receive a full Santa suit and a great Irish breakfast after the race at Ri Ra Irish pub. Events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=8881
Dec. 6, Peacham
Join fellow stargazers for an evening of observing under clear skies using the Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation’s main 17″ and portable telescopes. Learn with neighbors, newcomers and amateur astronomers. Facebook.com/nkaf.org
Holiday Celebrations at Shelburne Museum
Dec. 3-8, Shelburne
The new Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education will be humming with holiday-themed art activities, games and live music. The Center will be a sight to behold bedecked with 10 holiday trees, each decorated in a different theme inspired by the museum’s collections. Shelburnemuseum.org
Dec. 7, Vergennes
Eat breakfast with Santa, shop at the craft fair, find rare gifts at the Bixby Library silent auction, grab your rotary wreath and sing carols as you stroll. Read with Mrs. Claus; make cookies and decorations in Santa’s workshop. Enjoy the music of Champlain Brass Quintet, Victory Baptist Church Choir, Dickens carolers and Addison County Gospel Choir. Addisoncounty.com/holidaystroll
Capital City Farmers Market
Dec. 7 & 21, Montpelier
35 farmers, food producers, and craftspeople sell local fare. Also enjoy live music and ready-to-eat foods. Join us at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Gym at the corner of E. State St. and College St. Montpelierfarmersmarket.com
Stowe Community Church Christmas Fair
Dec. 7, Stowe
The Christmas Fair features decorated wreaths, needlecrafts, baked goods, and our original mugs, cookbooks, puzzles and historic Stowe afghans. The Trinkets & Treasures Room contains jewelry and other surprises. This year’s quilt raffle features a queen-sized, “Crazy Quilt” pattern. Stowechurch.org
19th Annual Brewfest
Dec. 7, Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Enjoy a day of outdoor fun on the mountain and a night of savoring the region’s finest libations. Sample local & regional beers and wines, with music, munchies and prizes. Smuggs.com
Christmas at Billings Farm & Museum
Dec. 7 – Jan. 1, Woodstock
Discover the simplicity of a 19th century Vermont Christmas in an authentically decorated farmhouse and working dairy farm. Partake in horse-drawn sleigh ride and children’s activities. Open every weekend and December 26 – Jan. 1. GPS: 69 Old River Road Billingsfarm.org
Classic Films of the 1950s
Dec. 8, Stowe
The 1950s were a fascinating time for Hollywood films. Several directors who began their careers in the silent era were in their prime and new stars such as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Audrey Hepburn were making their mark. Films addressed vital issues of the time such as juvenile delinquency, conformity, and racial attitudes, while the shadow of the Hollywood blacklist loomed. A Vermont Humanities Council event at the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe. Vermonthumanities.org
Wassail Weekend in Woodstock
Dec. 13 – 15, Woodstock
Voted one of Vermont’s Top Ten Winter events, the term has its roots in Medieval England referring to the Norse, “ves heill” meaning “to drink to the health.” Ale brewed with spiced apples and sugar was the warm drink given to the singers who went door to door during the Solstice. Parades, theatre, dining events and carolers’ songs of the season fill the air. Woodstockvt.com/wassail
Holidays on the Newbury Common
Dec. 14, Newbury
An old-fashioned winter party with music, traditional craft demonstrations, winter games, bonfire, tree lighting, hot chocolate, cookies, a visit from Santa and more! Enjoy a community supper and join the moonlight snowshoe and square dance after the fireworks show! Celebrate250.org
Dec. 14, Burlington
Come calling on Ethan and Fanny Allen for a Winter’s Eve celebration! Begin your experience in the 18th Century Tavern; take part in group dances, hear live music, or watch historical craft demonstrations. Come along for a lantern tour of the Allen House where historical re-enactors will entertain you! Ethanallenhomestead.org
22nd Annual Coolidge Holiday Open House
Dec. 15, Plymouth Notch
The Coolidge Birthplace will be decorated as it would have been in 1872, the year the future president was born. Holiday music will fill the village. Sleigh rides, children’s activities, crafts, foods and the Plymouth Memory Tree lighting ceremony enliven this holiday celebration. HistoricSites.Vermont.gov/Coolidge
Solstice Snowshoe over Moose Mountain
Dec. 21, East Charleston
Hike four miles along the Moose Mountain Trail. This beautiful trail runs through hardwood forest and rolling terrain. The journey to the 2,339’ peak offers scenic vistas of the northern range of the Green Mountains, Lake Willoughby and Wheeler Pond. Bring lunch, a hot drink and warm layers. Registration is required and snowshoes are available. Northwoodscenter.org
Celebrate Annual Holiday Show
Dec. 23- 28, Barre
Celebrate Annual Holiday Show includes a wide variety of fine art and crafts. Hundreds of one-of-a-kind gifts made by local artists are exhibited on three floors of Barre’s beloved downtown gallery. Studioplacearts.com
That’s the word from Don Cudmore, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I, which is going on tour seeking input from stakeholders on the state of the industry.
[CHARLOTTETOWN, PE] – P.E.I. could be faced with one of the largest structural changes the tourism industry has seen in a decade.
That’s the word from Don Cudmore, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.
Ahead of TIAPEI’s annual general meeting on Nov. 29 in Charlottetown, the organization is going on tour, with three stops that began on Monday night in Montague, seeking input from stakeholders.
“They are looking for input. They’d like to know what the industry is thinking. Maybe everything is great but I suspect it’s time for change and that’s the kind of feedback we’ll get,’’ Cudmore said. “It could be very substantial change. I think it could be one of the largest structural changes that the industry has seen in many, many years. Probably 10 years.’’
The last time the industry conducted a review this extensive it ended up forming the Tourism Advisory Council, regional tourism associations and the Tourism Research Centre.
Essentially, they’re taking a hard look at how the province’s tourism industry is managed.
They’ll be looking into the economic impact tourism has.
“We do know what the value of tourism is, to a certain extent, but just the numbers that are presented to Tourism P.E.I. and the treasurer.’’
Secondly, they’ll be looking into ways to make more money. A levy has been floated but Cudmore says no decisions have been made.
“It means how can we raise more dollars for tourism from the industry to help drive numbers or tourism? The committee is looking at all options. They’ve made no decisions.’’
Just as an example, Cudmore said the committee could suggest creative packaging opportunities rather than a straight levy.
“There are some areas of P.E.I. that give their operators an opportunity to co-op a marketing program so you raise more dollars when they buy into that.
In Charlottetown, there is a three per cent levy per night while stays in Summerside have an additional two per cent charge.
Cudmore said they’ll also take a hard look at the visionary and accountable leadership structure of TIAPEI itself.
“It’s time we look at everything again.’’
Cudmore said they need better information on what return P.E.I. gets for the money spent on marketing.
“Right now, we’re marketing a return on investment on tourism by what the provincial marketing budget is. We don’t know what the industry is putting into marketing in various jurisdictions.’’
Tourism brings in $388 million annually, making it one of the largest revenue-generating industries in the province but there’s been no growth in the past eight years.
Numbers will be up two per cent one year and down two per cent the very next year.
“Relatively speaking with the cost of living there has been zero growth. The only thing that has been growing is our expenses and so our industry is telling us we’ve got to find news ways of doing things.’’
There will be two more public sessions — on Wednesday at the Best Western Charlottetown from 7-9 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Summerside at Eastlink Arena from 7 to 9 p.m.
For more than two decades Morton was general manager of White Point Beach Resort.
[YARMOUTH, NS] – Nova Star Cruises Ltd. has appointed Danny Morton director of Cruise Marketing & Business Development.
For more than two decades Morton was general manager of White Point Beach Resort, and oversaw all aspects of operations including achievement of ISO 9001:2000 certification, ensuring quality standards development and human resource management throughout the resort. He was also part of the team that successfully rebuilt and reopened the resort in 2012, within one year of a devastating fire.
“We are very fortunate to have Danny join Nova Star Cruises’ growing team,” said Owen John, vice president, Sales & Marketing, Nova Star Cruises in a press release. “His extensive experience, knowledge, and relationships within the tourism industry will be invaluable in helping us establish and build a long-term, sustainable cruise ferry service.”
Starting in 2014, Nova Star Cruises will provide daily round-trip ferry service aboard the brand new, 161-metre cruise ferry, Nova Star, between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Portland, Maine, from May 1 to November 2.
Morton will be based in Halifax and lead strategic marketing, business development and sales, and support the development and introduction of the Nova Star Discovery program. The Nova Star Discovery program will provide travelers with turnkey vacation experiences that bundle passage on the Nova Star with select tourism offerings throughout Nova Scotia.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting opportunity for Nova Scotia and to join the Nova Star Cruises team,” said Morton. “This is a great opportunity for me personally, and also for Nova Scotia as we begin work to restore cruise ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.”
“Nova Star Cruises presents a unique opportunity for visitors to, and tourism operators in, Nova Scotia and New England, and I look forward to working with industry partners to develop and market this vital link between Canada and the United States,” said Morton.
Morton is a board member of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency (NSTA) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). He is also a past chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS).
Nova Star Cruises estimates that more than 100,000 passengers will step aboard the Nova Star in the first year of operation. Nova Star will leave Portland each evening at 8 p.m. EST and arrive in Yarmouth at 7 a.m. AST the next morning. The ship will depart two hours later and arrive back in Portland at 5 p.m. local time.
With a casino, three restaurants, including sit down fine dining and a sumptuous buffet, a theater and live entertainment, plus a spa, art gallery and more, Nova Star will provide a wealth of on-board amenities for passengers to enjoy during the voyage.
Nova Star Cruises will attend and participate in the 2013 TIANS Tourism Summit from Nov. 24-26 in Halifax.
Nova Scotia Tourism Minister Michel Samson says that agreement has been revised to give the provincial government greater ability to audit the books of STM Quest, which has agreed to operate the service.
[HALIFAX, NS] – The government of Nova Scotia has signed an amended agreement to re-establish a ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.
A deal to resume the ferry link was announced in September by the previous NDP government, nearly four years after it scrapped a subsidy for the money-losing service.
Nova Scotia Tourism Minister Michel Samson says that agreement has been revised to give the provincial government greater ability to audit the books of STM Quest, which has agreed to operate the service.
The company has committed to run the daily cruise ferry service from May 1 until Nov. 2 of next year under the name Nova Star Cruises.
Samson says the government is still willing to provide the company with a $21-million forgivable loan over seven years.
Of that, $10.5 million would go towards startup costs in the first year, with another $1.5 million set aside annually for marketing.
Following 250 Mile Bike Event Led by Great Freedom Adventures, Virgin Airways Cyclists to Present Funds to Charity for Disadvantaged Children.
Sherborn, MA (PRWEB) October 29, 2013
Bike tour operator, Great Freedom Adventures organized and operated a fund-raising and team-building challenge for 55 bicyclists from Virgin Atlantic Airways. The 250-mile, September 12-15, 2013 ride challenged cyclists to bike from Boston
Common to New York’s Central Park, traveling through four states in four days.
The ride connected the airline’s two regional hubs and provided employees from offices in the UK and the US an opportunity to bond as a team while also raising money for their partner charity, Free the Children. Funds are currently being presented to this charity which functions as a worldwide child advocacy group that works to reduce poverty and improve educational opportunities for children throughout the world.
Bicyclists departed Boston Common through balloon arches and cheering crowds to begin a journey traversing urban parks, suburban neighborhoods and rural farms. Cyclists averaged 63 miles per day with guides, print maps, cue sheets, GPS
directions, vehicle support, mechanical support, food and drink provided by Great Freedom Adventures along the way.
The carefully mapped route took cyclists through diverse regions of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, and included a ferry ride from New London, CT to Orient Point, NY, on the eastern tip of Long Island. Lunch and rest stops saw riders refueling at wildlife areas, urban parks, a colonial farmstead, a turkey farm for farm-fresh turkey sandwiches and a vineyard for a bit of wine tasting and brick oven pizza.
All participants successfully completed the team-building challenge by riding through Central Park as a red jersey-clad group to the finish at North Meadows where a cheering crowd of supporters and spectators greeted them. Riders were unanimous in their feeling that the trip brought the group together, strengthened bonds and increased incentive to reengage with both orporate and personal goals. The group gave high marks to the organization and execution of the event by Great Freedom Adventures as did Virgin Atlantic’s Aviation Security Manager Phil Williams, the contact person from the Virgin Atlantic side
and organizer of the UK and US ride participants.
“Great Freedom Adventures safely led our team of riders…from Boston to New York. It was a great opportunity for us to bring different elements of the Virgin Family together on such an epic adventure. Your support team were all very competent,
friendly, and accommodating. Leading a group of this size can never be easy, but your team accomplished it with ease, making the whole experience truly wonderful. From feedback already received from the group, I can tell that it has had a positive life-changing impact to many of those who participated. We look forward to partnering with Great Freedom Adventures again in the near future,” says Williams.
About Great Freedom Adventures Great Freedom Adventures offers bike tours and multi-sport adventures in New England
and New York regions possessing a unique diversity of natural beauty and cultural interests. These distinctive tours include a wealth of additional activities such as kayaking, hikes, nature walks, history tours, sunset sails, wine tastings, demonstrations and more, providing guests with a full-sensory experience and an insider’s perspective. The tour packages include upscale
lodging, most meals, side excursions, admissions, region-specific costs, bike rentals, maps, guides and van support. Scheduled tours are three to six days in duration and custom and private tours are available. Great Freedom Adventures also runs single- and multi-day corporate outings, team-building and fundraising events. Please see the website for additional information and for specific details on each tour.
The hotel management company was named one of the TOP 101 Companies in Atlantic Canada by Progress Media.
Halifax, Nova Scotia (PRWEB) 2013
New Castle Hotels and Resorts – Canadian Region was named one of the TOP 101 Companies in Atlantic Canada by Progress magazine, which ranks the region’s leading corporations by revenue for the 2012 fiscal year. The hotel management company ranked number 45 on the list of 101 Atlantic Canadian businesses.
“The companies identified by Progress Media are all industry and community leaders within Atlantic Canada,” says Guido Kerpel, Vice President of New Castle Hotels and Resorts – Canadian Region. “We are extremely honoured to rank amongst this elite group.”
With key economic factors, such as the Irving Ship Building contract, Atlantic Canada’s economy is on the rise. Progress magazine has chronicled the story of Atlantic Canada’s corporate values and performance for the last 20 years with the TOP 101. This year, the survey showcases the sectors and strategies which are setting the pace for business growth in the region.
New Castle Hotels and Resorts owns, operates and/or manages upscale hotels and resorts in the United States and Canada. The Canadian properties include The Westin Nova Scotian, Hampton Inn & Suites – Dartmouth Crossing, Residence Inn by Marriott Moncton, The Algonquin Resort, Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa, Liscombe Lodge Resort and Conference Centre, and
Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa.
The company is a preferred manager for Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood brands for both full-service and select-service hotels and independent properties with strong one-of-a-kind identities. The organizations regional outlook is to amalgamate certain tasks and services, such as procurement, tourism, and infrastructure, and using the gains to reduce deficits. In addition, to capitalize on purchasing underperforming assets and manage turnarounds to improved financial performance.
In addition to ranking 45 in the TOP 101 for revenue, New Castle Hotels and Resorts ranked number 8 for most balanced, number 5 for excellence in customer orientation, and number 4 for excellence in internal perspectives.
The TOP 101 earned more than $35 billion in total revenue, provided employment for close to 100,000 people in the region and own assets of more than $50 billion. To learn more about the additional companies, visit Progress Magazine online.
About New Castle Hotels & Resorts
Shelton Ct. based New Castle Hotels & Resorts, is an award-winning independent third-party hotel manager, owner and developer with more than 30 hotels and resorts and nearly 5,000 rooms under contract or in development. New Castle’s growing portfolio of hotels spans 10 states and three Canadian provinces and includes several of Canada’s historic landmark resorts.
The privately-held company was established by CEO, David Buffam in 1980 and consistently ranks among the top hotel management and development companies in North America. New Castle is a preferred operator for diverse brands within the
Marriott, Hilton and Starwood families. For additional information, please go to http://www.newcastlehotels.com.
By Carla Allan, Yarmouth Vanguard
[YARMOUTH, NS] – Along with accolades, Roger Brooks delivered plenty of criticism in his report on the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region.
Brooks, an expert in the fields of tourism, community branding, downtown development, and destination marketing, was contracted by Destination South West Nova Scotia to “mystery-shop” the region this summer and evaluate his experience.
He presented his report and “go-forward suggestions” at the Yarmouth Wesleyan Church on Thursday.
Brooks went through a list of 60 items in his analysis. The importance of signage came up repeatedly. In his travels he encountered many businesses that lacked signs indicating they were open. He also found many that were confusing and not consistent in design. French signage with no English translation was criticized. Signs also need to extend a friendly welcome and information.
He gave top marks to the Acadian Village in West Pubnico for several reasons.
“We have been in probably 150 museums in Nova Scotia and some of them are absolutely fabulous. This was our number one historical attraction. You know why? It’s because it’s where their families grew up. That really brought it home. They (staff) were entertaining, they were fun.”
Dennis Point Wharf holds huge potential as a destination to inform visitors about the fishing industry. Interpretive signs and guides would do a better job than the Living Wharf program that exists now, Brooks said. Although the latter is a good idea, the three-hour schedule on specific days at different wharfs is too limiting.
A QR code that would pull up a website or a video would be another idea, he said.
He pointed out the windmills in West Pubnico Point as worthy of more promotion. Brochures focusing on particular interests such as antiques, churches, cycling or other activities should be printed, he said.
“Promote your anchor tenants,” he said, referring to the most powerful destination points. “Everybody else benefits.”
He also suggested that a “best of” publication be created.
“We were here for five days and we never found all of your hidden gems,” he said.
Businesses are not catering to visitors by closing at night, he noted. Visitors are busy hiking, kayaking, bird watching, taking photos or involved in other activities during the day. His research has shown they’re ready to shop in the evening.
“Seventy per cent of all retail consumer spending takes place after 6 p.m.,” he said. “Are you open?”
He added that 80 per cent of tourism spending takes place in a pedestrian setting. Main Street needs to transform.
Blade signage that is perpendicular to the street is the secret to success when it comes to easier viewing and drawing customers, he said.
“The average retailer that adds blade signs will see their sales increase by 15 per cent, for a $200 investment,” he said.
Yarmouth also needs more greenery and flowers downtown. It softens the transition between facades and concrete. He pointed out Mahone Bay as an example.
“Copy them,” he said.
Creating an accurate wayfinding system and signage should be a priority for the area was another recommendation.
“We didn’t see a whole lot of spending opportunities,” he said.
“Tourism is the front door to your non-tourism economic development. If you want industry, anyone that would set up an industry in this area, they are going to come here first as a visitor.”
“It is the purest form of economic development. It’s the fastest growing industry in all of your provinces.”
Roger Brooks’ complete report will be available on the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores website at a later date.
The issue reaches far beyond the need for a wheelchair
By DARLENE GRANT FIANDER
According to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization, there are approximately one billion people with disabilities around the world —that’s 15 per cent of the global population. Here in Nova Scotia, 20 per cent of the population has self-identified as having some form of disability. That will increase as our population continues to age rapidly; by 2025, one in four Canadians will be 60 or older.
The travel market for the disabled is big. In North America alone, people with disabilities spend more than $13 billion each year on travel. Their biggest challenge? Finding accessible travel destinations that will meet their special needs and heighten their travel experience.
Our tourism industry prides itself on being welcoming and accommodating. In fact we should be leading the way for other sectors and yet we have heard time and again about visitors to Nova Scotia experiencing challenges securing accessible transportation, absence of universal design in our accommodations and attractions, and a general lack of understanding and
awareness around accessibility.
At a recent meeting I attended, a woman with severe arthritis was describing a recent trip she had taken and how just getting
through the process of travel created a great deal of stress for her. She was challenged by simple things most of us take for granted every day, like the type of handle on a door. She indicated that the staff at the hotel she stayed at made all the difference for her by being aware of her limitations and doing things to reduce her anxiety.
Accessible travel expert and author Craig Kennedy notes that current disabled travelers take advantage of destinations known to be accessible and that they are very loyal — often returning to the same city, hotel, or activity provider year after year if they have a good experience. The study suggests that these travelers would double their spending if some minor amenities were made available, along with enhanced service.
When you look at all of this, one begins to see the financial significance of an untapped and growing market. But more importantly the way we welcome and serve people with various levels of abilities says a great deal about who we are as a community, as a destination. The issue of accessibility reaches far beyond the need for a wheelchair. Business owners really need to examine their facilities, their service policies and the quality of the experience they are selling. As a society, we need to start to elevate these important policy issues and address what true accessibility really means.
Darlene Grant Fiander is president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and executive director of
the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council. Darlene has worked in the tourism industry for over 25 years. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Imagine… you have 12 minutes to convince an internationally syndicated journalist to write a splashy, colourful feature that would entice tourists to book vacations in your province. It’s all part of the GoMedia Marketplace.
[CHARLOTTETOWN, PE] – You have 12 minutes to convince an internationally syndicated journalist to write a splashy, colourful feature that would entice tourists to book vacations in your province.
That’s what representatives from 150 destinations and attractions from across Canada are doing this week at the new convention centre in Charlottetown.
It’s all part of the GoMedia Marketplace – an annual event that pairs travel editors, writers and broadcasters from around the globe with delegates from tourism destinations from across Canada.
In a forum reminiscent of speed-dating, two days are filled with a series of 12-minute meetings that allow tourism officials to pitch story ideas to the journalists and try to convince them to feature their products and destinations in future articles.
Brenda Gallant, director of marketing and communications for Tourism P.E.I., is heading up Prince Edward Island’s ‘speed-date’ tourism meetings.
She said she has a variety of angles to try to sell the journalists on the many tourism and culinary offerings in P.E.I.
“It really depends on the media person you’re speaking with because, maybe you’ll be talking with someone with a strong focus on culinary in one meeting and someone with a totally different focus in another,” Gallant said. “There’s not one specific pitch, the most important part is that you tailor your message to the media that you’re speaking with.”
Before arriving for the conference, media are given a list of the tourism destinations and attractions who have representatives available to meet with. They choose from the list those whom they would most like to meet with, while the tourism officials also select which media they would like to meet. The 12-minute sessions are then scheduled based on the compatibility of the two sides’ requests and the available time.
It’s a whirlwind of pitches, networking and card-swapping.
Gregory Gérault is a photographer and travel writer from Paris who contributes to a wide variety of French and international publications. He is in P.E.I. for the GoMedia Marketplace.
Gérault said he thought the meetings would feel rushed, which is not something Europeans prefer.
“You know, we’re not American,” he joked. “But in fact it was very nice and I think it will be very useful because I have a lot of projects in Canada next year and I’ve found very good contacts here since I’ve arrived so I’m very happy to be here.”
Prince Edward Island tourism officials are hoping to get a special boost in media coverage as a result of hosting the event and picking up the tab for all 125 journalists attending the week’s activities.
In Gérault’s case, this has already worked. He says he plans to come back to the Island next year for a feature on an aspect of P.E.I.’s fishery.
Gallant says she has heard nothing but positive comments since the participants first arrived. She has no doubt this will be a boost to P.E.I.’s profile on the international tourism stage.
“Usually at these things, you have to start your meeting by pulling out a map and showing them where P.E.I. is. Now they’re here and they see all we have to offer. It’s really exciting.”
The four-day festival saw every day except for Sunday sell out. That’s a first for the festival which was originally created as a way to extend P.E.I. tourism into the shoulder season.
[CHARLOTTETOWN, PE] – After only two years of calling the Charlottetown Events Grounds home, the Prince Edward Island International Shellfish seems to have once again outgrown itself.
The 18th annual celebration of P.E.I. shellfish keeps getting larger and larger and this year was no exception.
The four-day festival, which is the biggest signature Fall Flavours event, saw every day except for Sunday sell out, said chair Liam Dolan.
That’s a first for the festival, which Dolan originally created as a way to extend P.E.I. tourism into the shoulder season.
“It just shows that it’s taken on a life of its own and has become extremely important,” said Dolan. “It’s the biggest yet, absolutely. It’s been phenomenal.
“We turned away three or four hundred people yesterday (Saturday)… I felt bad.”
The festival was previously held on the city’s waterfront before outgrowing the venue and re-locating in 2012.
Last year saw well over 7,000 pack the festival tent, many of whom came from out of province.
With the tent having been expanded this year, Dolan said he expects an even higher number from this past weekend.
“We’ve almost outgrown this one to a certain degree,” he said.
The festival also kept the crowd entertained with Food Network cooking demonstrations, East Coast music and international oyster shuckers and chefs competing for more than 24,000 in prizes.
The festival ended with the Raspberry Point Oyster Shucking Championship on Sunday.
While some of the world’s best were competing, one stood out from the rest.
That was Daniel Notkin, who was representing the Old Port Fishing Company in Montreal and his restaurant Notkin’s, which will be opening this December.
Notkins said the trick to winning was a delicate balance between both cleanliness and speed.
“There are people cleaner (than me) but you have to make that judgment in balance,” said Notkin. “Everyone will tell you I’m the nerdiest shucker and prepper around. I will go through it in my head and visualize it.
“There is a lot of visualization and hand-eye coordination.”
Notkin said winning was an honour.
“You see the best shuckers in the world on any given day here,” he said. “To win it, I’m super thrilled.”
Apart from the crowd and competitions, the Island products and offerings at the festival have also been built upon.
Originally focusing on mussels and oysters, the festival now includes all types of products from P.E.I., including chowders and potatoes.
The festival event also saw the competing chefs given tours of P.E.I.’s potato farms and mussel and oyster plants.
“They see how it’s all produced so they can tell their customers ‘this is where my mussels or oyster come from’,” said Dolan. “It (the festival) is doing what it’s supposed to be right now, its promoting P.E.I. all the food. It doesn’t necessarily have to be just mussels and oysters.”
It’s those producers and growers who are the real winners from the festival, said Notkin.
“It’s one thing to shuck a nice and clean plate but you’ve got to have great oysters to do that,” he said. “P.E.I. grows some of the best oysters in the world. And to be able to bring those in and have great oysters, that’s the real success.
“The oyster growers are the guys that put in the effort.”
Dolan said the festival, which kept restaurants, hotels and bars busy all weekend, isn’t possible without the help of volunteers.
“I’d like to thank all the groups and volunteers involved,” he said. “Some people have told me they’ll never miss it (the festival) again… it’s their annual vacation.”