During Provincial Acadian Tourism Forum
SUMMERSIDE – May 2, 2017 – Over the years, the Magdalen Islands experienced significant increases in their tourism numbers each time a new ferry was introduced. The local entrepreneurial community therefore took advantage of these opportunities to develop a variety of tourism experiences.
Acadian and francophone tourism operators on PEI were similarly encouraged April 29 to not “miss the boat” in regards to experiential tourism as their province will have its turn in welcoming three major “boats” in the next three years: the World Acadian Congress in August 2019, the Jeux de l’Acadie 50+ Games in September 2018 and the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Isle-Saint-Jean (as PEI was originally named) in 2020.
“These are certainly strong, pillar events so we have to make sure to position ourselves properly to take full advantage of their presence among us,” suggested Claude Blaquière, president of the Evangeline Tourism Association (ATE).
All of these comments and suggestions were offered during the Provincial Acadian Tourism Forum, which bore the theme “The development of Acadian tourism products and experiential tourism – an added value to the PEI economy”. About 50 entrepreneurs and stakeholders from the Acadian and francophone community participated in this full-day event at the Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside.
Organized by the Evangeline Tourism Association, in partnership with RDÉE Prince Edward Island and la Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin, the forum aimed to better inform tourism operators and stakeholders about the economic potential that lies in the development of Acadian and experiential tourism products.
A delegation of Magdalen Island entrepreneurs presented to the PEI operators an overview of their tourism product and examples of businesses involved in experiential tourism.
Jason Bent, the director of the Magdalen Island’s recreational tourism division, presented a few examples of collaborative products developed in the archipelago, including a major pilot project geared towards experiential tourism.
He noted that the addition of new services as well as the improvement of certain aspects of tourism businesses aimed at creating more fulfilling experiences are greatly helping businesses meet their business objectives. Even though financial projections related to these new activities are generally modest, they still serve as leverage in helping the host businesses boost their image, increase their tourism visitations and improve their overall performance.
As a follow-up to the forum, a delegation of 12 Acadian and francophone tourism operators will head out to the Magdalens to further explore the archipelago’s experiential tourism offerings and to be inspired to develop their own Acadian and experiential tourism products.
Over the next few weeks, the Evangeline Tourism Association, in collaboration with the RDÉE, will oversee follow-ups to the provincial tourism forum and consider how Island Acadian and francophone tourism operators can benefit from them.