The Shelburne County Tourism Association (SCTA) has teamed up with local web designer and developer David James to build a new website to promote Shelburne County as a destination that will be a “hub” for “cohesively marketing the area to tourists.”
James, who moved to Smithville four years ago, is a graphic designer with more than 40 years of experience in design and marketing. He owns and operates Pixels ETC. Tourism has been the focus of much of his work.
“I had a vision when I came here of doing some tourism marketing,” said James in an interview. “It’s something I have done before. It’s something I understand and something I enjoy doing.”
Updating the Shelburne County Tourism Association website has been on the to-do list for some time, said association president Charlene Harris.
“Our tourism site that we have now is really outdated and it’s hard for us, a volunteer board, to maintain it. It didn’t represent tourism as much as it did the association,” she said.
James made the pitch to the association to develop a tourism website for the county in February, with no up-front cost to the SCTA.
The aim is to offer all businesses a free ad, with minimal business details, and then up-sell on an enhanced listing that will include an image, links to their own website, social media etc. Additionally, businesses can run ads that will be blocks that feature on the pages, banners at the bottom of certain pages. The revenue stream will enable Pixels to pay for and to continue to develop and add value to the site, and to maintain it at a high level.
The SCTA is supporting James in developing the tourism website by providing him with their tourism database collected in 2017 and allowing him to use their logo.
“We’re hoping to develop a website that represents tourism in Shelburne County,” said Harris. “We’re really quite excited about it.”
The entire focus of the new website, visitshelburnecounty.com, will be “things that will actually bring tourists to the area,” said James. It is expected to go live by late May.
The new website will be easy to navigate, feature large, bright, colourful images selling the attractiveness of the area as a destination, have an interactive map plotting Shelburne County with major points of interest clearly marked, and will also include the ability for site visitors to sign up for information updates, as well as current and upcoming events.
In the meantime, Shelburne County business owners and managers, as well as community locations that can gain from exposure to tourism, are being invited to check the website database at https://visitshelburnecounty.ca/ to see if they are included. If not, they are invited to add their information at no charge.
“It’s going extremely well,” said James.
Local musicians will be invited to register their upcoming gigs just before the site goes live in the What’s On section.
Harris said she feels there is great potential to grow the tourism industry in Shelburne County.
“We need to have product development, we need to have product to sell,” she said. “We have all kinds of assets. We have some of the best assets in the province, our beaches, our history, our scenery, we have the most lighthouses. We probably have the most museums, all of those things are assets that we have but we have no tour companies.
“We have to make ourselves a destination if we want people off the ferry to stop in Shelburne County,” said Harris, noting signage for the 103 coming out of Yarmouth “is terrible” and is an issue she wishes municipal units would address with the powers that be.
“The 101 is definitely promoted but go and find the one for the 103 coming up Starrs Road,” she said.