By Eric Bourque
Saying it’s more important than ever for everyone to work together to help promote the region, West Nova MP Greg Kerr announced federal funding for the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association and its Total Market Readiness program.
Ottawa is contributing $135,250 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund, Kerr making the announcement March 22 on behalf of ACOA Minister Gail Shea.
Total Market Readiness is a business mentoring and quality improvement initiative focusing on tourism.
Kerr described the program as “the right step forward” for the tourism industry in the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region.
“It’s not a matter of waiting to see what’s going to happen, but setting priorities and moving forward in a very organized way,” he said in the Yarmouth municipal council chambers in Hebron, where he announced the federal funding.
“It’s a really competitive world that we live in and with the assets down here … we have to promote what’s in our area.”
Julie Walters, general manager of YASTA, said a tourism development officer would be hired to coordinate the Total Market Readiness program.
“It’s a really competitive world that we live in and with the assets down here … we have to promote what’s in our area.” - Greg Kerr
By working with businesses and attractions, she said, the goal is to try to ensure that tourists are getting the best possible experience out of their visit to the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region.
“TMR is an opportunity for all of us to really, collectively, pull up our socks and get ready not only for the return of ferry service but also to better cater to the visitors (who are coming now),” she said.
Participants will get to take workshops and training.
The program will run over two years, according to the media release announcing the federal funding, “providing professional support and facilitation to help businesses focus on developmental activities and better prioritize their investments.”
Like Kerr, who talked about the importance of working together to promote the tourism offerings of Yarmouth and Acadian Shores, John Cunningham, the YASTA chairman, said the region as a whole benefits – if not directly, then at least indirectly – from having tourists visit, whatever attracts them here or wherever they happen to go within Yarmouth and Acadian Shores.
“The regional approach is the way to go,” he said.