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Northumberland Strait fishermen, boaters wanted

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… for experiential tourism initiative

PICTOU — A new initiative is getting underway in Pictou County and its creator is seeking fishermen, sailors and recreational boaters interested in dipping their toes in the marine tourism business.

“Discover the Strait brings local boat owners together on one platform to offer visitors authentic Nova Scotia experiences on the Northumberland Strait,” says Linda Townsend, creator of the initiative, via a press release.

“Essentially, we provide the online platform, marketing, e-commerce, customer relations, and some operational support to boat owners who want to provide visitor experiences on the Strait, but don’t want the burden of creating and operating their own tourism business. Boat owners can focus solely on delivering the marine experience.”

She notes, “For visitors, the platform provides one trusted place where a variety of Northumberland Strait experiences can be accessed.”

Townsend and Wes Surrett, general manager of Pictou Lodge, will be hosting a workshop for interested boat owners on March 3. “The workshop is designed to be informative and collaborative,” says Surrett. “We’ll work with participants to develop the type of experiences Nova Scotia Tourism is telling us visitors are looking for. We’ll also cover the requirements for operating a passenger vessel.”

The idea for Discover The Strait evolved as a means to meet a void in the market. “Every year, we have visitors itching to get on the Strait, but it is a demand we’ve had a difficult time fulfilling,” says Surrett.

“There is no shortage of boating enthusiasts and fishermen along the Strait, so we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to use existing assets and knowledge to meet visitor demand.”

While many in the tourism industry are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, Surrett sees this as an opportunity to test the waters before presenting the initiative on the world stage. He says Tourism Nova Scotia’s research is showing that Atlantic Canadians are looking for outdoor activities and experiences in less populated destinations. “This year will give us the opportunity to fine-tune the concept with the Atlantic market.”

Townsend was inspired to create the initiative out of her own passion for boating on the Northumberland Strait and the potential she sees for marine-based recreation and cultural experiences on the Strait. “We have an impressive roster of tourism icons in this province like the Cabot Trail, Peggy’s Cove and The Bay of Fundy. My intention is to see the Northumberland Strait added to that distinguished list.”

The initiative has already received endorsements and support from tourism and fishing industry organizations, including the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores Tourism Association, Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and the Nova Scotia Fishing Sector Council.

Boat owners interested in attending the workshop can contact Linda Townsend at linda@discoverthestrait.com or by calling 902-790-1490.