The third installment of the TIANS Champion Blog Series comes from TIANS benefit supplier Efficiency Nova Scotia with a focus on evaluating and managing your tourism business energy usage. Rising energy costs are a growing concern for businesses and tourists alike. Enabling community groups and small to large businesses to realize gains in productivity and competitiveness from becoming more energy efficient will assist in keeping their costs low and in turn their prices lower for the visitors.
We receive feedback that tourism operators often don’t have the time, resources or information to find out how to save money by improving energy efficiency and we wanted to begin to provide some practical, tailored information to help their bottom line. There are many ways tourism businesses can save money on energy bills that will benefit them both short and long term.
By making smarter energy choices with their lighting, kitchen, and heating and cooling systems business operators can be set to benefit from reduced energy costs by as much as 20 per cent. Tourism businesses can save money and help the environment by using less energy. Efficiency Nova Scotia will be on hand at the Tourism Marketplace during the TIANS Summit at the World Trade & Convention Centre November 25-27, 2012 to answer your specific questions. Be sure to talk with them about your business and how to put energy savings to work for you.
With the summer influx of tourists to Nova Scotia beginning to wind down, it’s once again time to refocus our efforts on evaluating overall performance. This typically includes a detailed look at operational costs and manageable expenses. A hard look at costs like labour, food and building maintenance is routine, but how much time do you spend managing your energy costs?
The notion that energy and utility bills are a fixed, uncontrollable cost is a common attitude within the hospitality sector and many others. Luckily it could not be further from the truth.
Recording the amount of energy that is being used on a regular basis is a solid starting point to managing energy usage. One way is to monitor the amount found on your power bill (listed in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) to spot abnormal spikes in usage. Another option is to purchase a few low-cost electric power meters, available from your local home building supply store, which will give a real-time display of the energy consumption in your business and can help to identify trends or events that are unnecessarily increasing your energy bill.
Knowing what pieces of equipment are your biggest energy users can help you make informed decisions on upgrades. Popular options for the hospitality industry include:
changing older Packaged Terminal Air Conditioning units to higher efficiency Packaged Terminal Heat Pump units,
installing occupancy controls on guest room HVAC systems,
modernizing commercial kitchens and exhaust systems,
These updates have attractive paybacks, typically less than three years, based on the energy savings alone. Additionally, Efficiency Nova Scotia supports these energy upgrades with incentives. Are you ready to take the next step yourself?
Talk to Efficiency Nova Scotia today about energy saving tips, advice and rebates.
Posted and introduction written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
Today we present the second instalment of the Tourism Champion Blog Series, written by Mr. Graham McNeil, Maritime Inns & Resorts Director of Hospitality Operations/Director of Marketing. Maritime Inns & Resorts is a locally owned company with unique properties in three Nova Scotia Communities; Maritime Inn Antigonish, Maritime Inn Port Hawkesbury, and Silver Dart Lodge and The MacNeil House Suites, Baddeck. Graham shares his view on the importance of reinvestment in the tourism product, even when times are tough; meeting needs of visitors by being authentic and the importance of having a strong team in place.
Reinvestment in the Tourism Product – Written by Graham McNeil
As a seasonal player in the Cape Breton hospitality industry, Baddeck’s Silver Dart Lodge has witnessed the highs and lows over the past ten years, however, one thing is for sure there is no quit in the team. Despite the predictable turnover associated with students and those simply leaving the region this long-standing operation boasts one of the most engaged group of employees one is likely to find anywhere. That is why the parent company, New Glasgow based Maritime Inns & Resort, did not hesitate to continue their plans to reinvest once again for the 2012 season despite the departure of their General Manager in January.
The team of department heads were invited to return to work under the direction of Operations Manager, Chad Keen, and drive the off-season execution of their respective division and drive them they did! In addition to a complete renovation project to the 20 unit North Lodge [ over 80% of the property has received similar treatment over the past three years], the on site management team undertook a massive project to convert the former dining room into something capable of being one of the top dining destinations in Cape Breton.
Antigonish designer, Andrew Murray, a former set designer with the major national news organizations was hired to create an aviation based theme for the dining room in recognition of the namesake, Douglas McCurdy, pilot of the flight of the Silver Dart. The dining room, McCurdy’s, always offered a panoramic view of the magnificent Bras d’Or lakes and delicious Cape Breton cuisine under the watchful eye of Chef Cory Barron. The new ambiance is absolutely inspiring and adds many new interesting features including the incorporation of 14 propellers into the surrounding architecture. Even the custom-built rod iron stair railing incorporates a trio of propellers.
Local carpenter Deryck Chapman undertook the conversion project and became totally engaged to the point where he was returning to work after dinner and on the weekends. It helps that his wife Penny is the dining room supervisor and as such has been behind the redevelopment project from day one. The dining room is meant to offer visitors a historical perspective as well as a look at Cape Breton culture. Walls are adorned with spectacular shots from yesterday featuring traditional Cape Breton industries in addition to the aviation props.
A replica of the Silver Dart, built by Maintenance Manger, Andrew Cameron, will be featured in the new dining area silhouetted against the skyline and offering the appearance of the original flight working its way across the bay. Even lighting is designed to reflect the central theme with floor lamps built on tripod stands.
McCurdy’s also offers a semi-private dining/special event area ideal for small retreats and meetings for those who are looking for a unique destination and casual setting overlooking the view that inspired the genius of Alexander Graham Bell himself.
New General Manager, Denise MacLeod is simple ecstatic with the infectious “can do” attitude of her new staff. MacLeod who is a Baddeck mother of three has accepted this daunting challenge after a twenty year career with local competitor Inverary Inn. Her vast experience should be a nice fit with this “never say quit” group of Cape Breton hospitality providers who see nothing but a bright future thanks to the support of their parent company president, Don Mingo who defies the odds and continues to invest heavily at a time when many are doing the opposite.
Posted and introduction written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
TIANS is pleased to present the first installment of the Tourism Champion Blog series. This new feature will provide industry perspective from leaders across our province. This premiere series blog is written by Mr. Glenn Squires, CEO of Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc. Pacrim represents 48 branded hotels with 5,182 hotel rooms in 10 provinces and three states. In October of 2011, he was named Chairman of the InterContinental Hotels Group Owners Association, which represents hotel owners worldwide. Glenn also sits on the Board of Directors for TIANS and is the Chairman of the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council. In addition to Glenn’s view on profitability, growth and opportunity – this blog also provides global insights from panel participants at a recent IHG Committee in Arizona.
As Chairman of the Owners Association, I get to work with a lot of talented people. And I don’t mean just my colleagues on the Board and all our Committee members. My journey as Chairman has taken me to so many places where we have IHG hotels. In every location, our members, from the Americas to Europe and Australasia, tell me a similar story of determination to be more profitable, to create opportunity for growth, to do more than just keep the doors open. We share so many similarities as owners and operators that the regional variations seem minor. This journey has really opened my eyes—and my mind—to the true global reach of our Association.
This reach was highlighted recently when we had the opportunity to feature a panel of global Committee participants at our recent Joint Committee Meetings at the Crowne Plaza in Phoenix, Arizona.
Around the World in Phoenix
Written by: Ownerblog
I’d like to thank those who participated in the panels (I’ve listed all their names below) and share some of their insights with you. You can also spend some time with a video we produced from the second session to give you an idea of the scope of the presentation. View the video here. But here’s my wrap up in four sound bites:
What can we do about rate? “It’s all about revenue management, day in and day out. Offering tools to the whole estate is helpful, but we must be on it all the time.” This statement came from Patrick de Peuter, Vice Chairman of the European Board and Chair of the European IT Sub-Committee, and highlights what many on the panel and at the meetings said. We have tools available to help us manage and to improve our revenue position, but we must dedicate the time to learning them and to using them daily. You can find helpful tips from Lara Hernandez, Vice President, Distribution & Relationship Marketing Americas, here.
“Commissions have skyrocketed over the years,” noted Nik Gupta, who serves on the Global Revenue Performance Committee and serves on the European Sales & Marketing Sub-Committee. “I remember 2002 cost of sale was around 12.2%, and by 2010 we are at 14%. We are failing to contain cost of sale.” And he was not alone in expressing concerns over cost. Jeff Krivoshen, Vice Chair of the Canada Committee, noted that minimum wage “was approaching $11 an hour in Canada with no concern for the economic downturn.” And Martin Quinn, who serves on the Global Crowne Plaza Committee and European Board, urged the Association “to put positive pressure on IHG to spend wisely.” I agree, and so as an Association, we are looking to find ways to work with IHG to lower costs where possible and to make more resources available without additional fees. This is a top priority for the Association’s officers.
“A tale of two countries.” Panelists from Canada, United Kingdom, and Mexico all agreed that recovery was not a country-wide phenomenon. In Mexico, Gerardo Garrido, vice chairman of the Mexico Committee, noted that the construction of auto plants in the central region should promote positive growth but security fears continue to impact resort areas. In the U.K., the Olympics will create rate strength in London, but then “there’s everywhere else,” noted John Wagner, who serves on the Global Staybridge Suites Committee and European Standards Sub-Committee. And in Canada, “the Western side is a lot different than central Canada, which has a lot of companies tied to manufacturing, which is still being affected by the U.S. downturn,” noted Jeff Krivoshen. We hear loudly and clearly that many of you are just hanging on, hoping for a quicker recovery, and we’re taking that message to our IHG partners.
And finally, I’ll share my favorite one: “Inspire us to do better. The only way to go is up.” I think that came from Nik Gupta, and I think what he says is important for me to remember. My role, as I see it, is to make sure that we focus on those areas that are going to make a difference and to get us aligned so we are effective in our discussions with our partners at IHG. Our Committees do an amazing job of working through the details on standards, programs and tools, and I have great confidence in their abilities to serve us all. My role, then, is to lead our Officers to work with IHG’s senior leaders to be the guiding force that moves us toward better asset value, more profitability, and lower costs. We do that by participating in the important discussions that we need to have, on topics that matter, like how do we best use system funds to promote growth for existing hotels, how do support new hotel development that honors existing relationships and truly measures impact, and how do we create standards for things that really matter to our guests and empower our general managers to create memorable guest experiences. I think I speak for all the Association’s leaders when I say that our role is to make sure that we make a difference and lead each of you to the best hotel ownership experience in the industry, one that is profitable, professional, and long-lived. Tell me, in your opinion, what is the one thing that you believe the Association should be taking the lead on?
Patrick De Peuter, Prem Hotels NV
Lilian Flores, Holiday Inn Queretaro Centro Historico
Nikhil Gupta, BDL Management Ltd
Walther Lauffer, Crowne Plaza Fredericton
Gerardo Garrido, Holiday Inn Trade Center
Jeff Krivoshen, P.R. Hotels Ltd.
Martin Quinn, Westmont Hospitality
Joost Serrarens, Westbridge Europe
John Wagner, Cycas Hospitality
Posted and introduction written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
Every spring, TIANS/NSTHRC staff invites our membership, who we consider to be our extended family, to come together to enjoy each other’s company for 2-days of complimentary events as a token of our gratitude for year-round support; the TIANS Annual General Meeting. We think about this event as a family reunion because tourism operators are like-minded individuals, who share a common interest and care for the collective community. This year, we did not only have the opportunity to connect with those we may not get to see as often as we’d like, and get to know each other more on an individual basis, but we got to be enveloped in the first family of Nova Scotia; the Mi’kmaq. Much of who we are as Nova Scotians has been shaped by the Mi’kmaq influence and we were able to experience a real opportunity to learn about this important part of Nova Scotia history through central Nova Scotia. We got up close and personal with Kluskap (Glooscap); an Abenaki word meaning “man from nothing”. Glooscap, the first human, was created out of a bolt of lightening in the sand and remains a figure who appears in many of the Mi’kmaw legends. These legends are stories that are passed down from generation to generation and tell of the Mi’kmaq culture.
The 2012 TIANS AGM took place on May 24th & 25th in Truro; the “Hub of Nova Scotia”. Approximately an hour from the capital city of Halifax, Truro earned the nickname of “hubtown” because of its geographical position with all major highways intersecting through it, and the historical significance as a natural distribution center to the province and manufacturing center in the 19th century. The Mi’kmaq name for the Truro area, “Wagobagitik” meaning “end of the water’s flow”, was shortened by Acadian settlers to “Cobequid”. The town was resettled in 1761 by Presbyterians who came from Ireland via New England and named the town after the city of Truro in Cornwall,England.
The TIANS/NSTHRC crew closed up the office, loaded up the vans, and headed toTruro in the early morning of May 24th for the beginning of our 2-day visit with our extended Tourism family. We couldn’t have asked for better weather when we arrived; it was a blistering sunny day made warmer by the familiar East Coast hospitality greeting us the moment we arrived at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Centre.Guests who stay at these four star accommodations will discover the many new amenities as well as the convenient, central location to the town. The beautiful hotel is 100% non-smoking and is a modern oasis for both the business and leisure traveler. Among their outstanding amenities are a new indoor, heated salt water pool, hot tub and state of the art fitness centre. Pets are welcome at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Truro, so feel free to bring your best friend along with you when visiting.
After a quick check in and change, my co-workers Joyce MacDonald, Kathy Russell, Linda Jones, and I went to grab a bite at the Bistro on Prince. The Bistro, conveniently located just off the hotel lobby, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. We were able to relax and enjoy our delightful meal in the quiet and intimate lounge before the work day officially began.
With the registration desk set up, we waited with anticipation to see our members and catch up with them about the latest happenings in their business and personal lives. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with our membership and learn first hand about the exciting developments on the horizon for all five tourism sectors; Accommodation, Food and Beverage Services, Recreation and Entertainment, Transportation, and Travel Services along with industry suppliers, regional tourism associations, DMO’s and all levels of Government.
We greeted our attendees with leather TIANS portfolios and gifts from benefit suppliers, Johnson’s Insurance, personalized TIANS stainless steel water bottles courtesy of Jym Line Glassware, as well as the latest information from members Hooked Rug Museum of North America and Motorcycle Tour Guide books. More than 59 people were present at 1:30pm for the first scheduled event of AGM, the Canadian Tourism Commission workshop, Building Experience with EQ where speaker Jane P. Oslen presented a companion workshop to the CTC’s newly-updated Experiences Toolkit (2nd edition). This 3-hour interactive workshop inspired and lead attendees through a step by step approach to building memorable and engaging visitor experiences.
While waiting for opening reception to begin, the TIANS Board Meeting took place while members participated in the Industry Advisory Committee meeting, relaxed on property, explored the town, or ventured into one of the many surrounding shops for some retail therapy. My co-worker Lyndsay Leeham and I ventured out to buy a beautiful Adirondack chair and mini chair from Saltscapes General Store on behalf of the TIANS staff as a token of appreciation for the outgoing TIANS Chair, Danny Bartlett.
We retuned to greet members at the Welcome Reception where a record number of TIANS benefit suppliers participated in the informal benefit showcase. Suppliers NS Webcams, eTouch Kiosk, Johnson Insurance Medical & Dental, Johnson Insurance Home & Auto, Swish Maintenance Ltd., Efficiency NS, AP Reid Insurance, Skyline Atlantic, Braemar Pest Control, Royal LePage Real-Estate and Atlantic Data Systems showcased their products and answered member questions.
Jost Vineyards Ltd. supplied unlimited samplings of Nova Scotia wines as attendees made their way to the many delectable food stations while hotel staff served endless hot hors d’ordeves around the room. Once Danny Bartlett, TIANS Chair gave the official opening remarks, guests indulged by making rounds at a fresh local seafood table, roast beef sandwich table, fruit, cheese and veggie table, complete with a make your own sundae bar stocked with every sweet you could think of. Guests certainly didn’t go hungry!
The second day of the TIANS AGM was held at the Glooscap Heritage Centre. This complex, located on the outskirts of Truro, ova Scotia, was built as a dedication to the celebration of Mi’kmaq heritage. The Centre also has a modern Visitor Information Centre and a Gift Shop with an Aboriginal focus.
Breakfast at the Centre was a real treat. TheTruro and Area Bed & Breakfast Operators not only graciously hosted and sponsored the breakfast, but in true B&B fashion, they cooked and served breakfast to all attendees. Given that there were approximately 100 people in attendance, this was no small feat! The homemade personal touch was superb and a wonderful way to begin the day. During breakfast, the Honourable Minister Percy Paris addressed the industry with words of pride and encouragement for the upcoming season and beyond.
The TIANS business meeting followed breakfast. Before we began, we were privy to be part of a traditional Mi’kmaq smudge ceremony using sage and a feather to bring positive energy to the room, and a Mi’kmaq prayer to join us all together as one. During the meeting the past year’s business was discussed, the election for the slate of officers was held, the new TIANS Board was sworn in, and an update on the new Nova Scotia Tourism Agency was presented by Acting Deputy Minister Chris Daly. After the business was taken care of, we gathered for the final scheduled event of the 2012 TIANS AGM; a delicious lunch made up of the favourite comfort foods in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the 100% locally owned and operated Saltscapes Restaurant and General Store.
Tourism is an Industry where collaboration is the key. This philosophy holds true when putting together an important event like the 2012 TIANS Annual General Meeting. We couldn’t have made the event a success without the help from our supporting partners: the Central Nova Tourist Association, Glooscap Heritage Centre, Holiday Inn Truro, Saltscapes Restaurant and General Store, and the Truro area Bed & Breakfasts who sponsored the events for industry. We couldn’t lead as the voice of tourism in Nova Scotia without our membership’s support and direction. Over the course of the 2012 AGM, TIANS/NSTHRC staff and members got to spend time with a total of 120 industry stakeholders and be pampered by multiple venues in Central Nova Scotia.
TIANS members are people who want to live and work in Nova Scotiawhile sharing their love for this Province with anyone they come in contact with. Having the chance to be a part of the traditions and culture of the first people of Nova Scotia only made this sentiment stronger. I didn’t think it was possible for the flame of passion for this place we call home to burn even brighter, but I was mistaken.
Written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
What do you call one of the most unique and extraordinary tourism events in the nation fuelled by the energy of 600 tourism professionals under the same roof for 3 days? It’s the TIANS Tourism Summit. This year marked my 7th year working the Tourism Summit, the largest tourism conference of its kind in Canada, and the experience still leaves me in awe. Tourism re-energizes. It encourages civic involvement and pride. It provides exchanges between hosts and guests that spur innovation, encourages the learning of new skills and knowledge sharing, and solidifies the preservation and celebration of local festivals and cultures. Importantly, tourism facilitates infrastructure development and economic growth for the benefit of rural and urban communities that otherwise might not be developed. The Tourism Summit puts you smack dab in the middle of all of this and more. It is designed to immerse delegates in the action and enterprise of tourism itself.
The theme of the 2011 Tourism Summit was “The Tourism Connection, Energizing Nova Scotia”. This is a near perfect description for the meeting of the minds phenomenon that occurs between participants from all walks of Tourism during conference. Attendees acquire a better understanding of how crucial their individual role in the industry is to the future success of tourism in Nova Scotia by awakening and reinforcing their essential connection to the industry as a whole entity.
There is not one of us in the Nova Scotia Tourism Industry whose actions do not operate on the actions of others, and by being at the Summit you really “get it”. A bevy of inspirational speakers and educational workshops, working groups and networking events, a Tourism Expo, panel discussions, and a grand finale at the Gala Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence, recharges the batteries of participants creating and strengthening opportunities for growth. And it’s all done in the true Nova Scotia fashion of unlimited hospitality and amazing food and drink, interwoven through a backdrop of comedy and music!
The 2011 Tourism Summit took place from November 27-29, 2011 in the city in which I was born and raised, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax is the commercial hub of Atlantic Canada and the largest population centre in Canada east of Quebec City. Sitting at the edge of the continent, Halifax is often described as the big city with small town charm. Surrounded by pristine nature, Halifax is a year-round destination experience with a lively night life. It boasts a rich, eclectic heritage and the second largest harbor in the world. There is a climate-controlled Downtown Halifax Link Pedway System in the core of the city that serves as the border for the Tourism Summit. Venues and host properties are never more than a 10-minute walk to one another through the pedway link. You’d never have to step outside if you didn’t want to. Talk about convenience!
The Sunday evening opening reception is a time for relaxation, fun and games. What better place to partake in those activities than at Casino Nova Scotia! I had the opportunity to begin the evening at the registration desk with three of my co-workers Joyce MacDonald, Lisa Dahr, and Jane Rozee. There we greeted old friends, met new ones, and introduced them to one another warmly as we began our our 3-day adventure together. The reception took place where the action is; on the casino floor.
After TIANS Past Chair Danny Morton officially welcomed everyone, I, TIANS/NSTHRC staff, and delegates spent their time leisurely enjoying the VIP treatment complete with private access to the Harbourfront Lounge, Paradise Restaurant, and Games Room. A sushi chef stood preparing fresh sushi, surrounded by a buffet of all you can eat seafood, salads, munchies, and chocolate fondue. Roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, and three courses of comfort foods accompanied the beverages in the lounge should sushi and seafood not entice your palate. Cries of excitement rang out from the games room as delegates played at no cost and competed for prizes. After the opening reception, we all headed back to the host hotels through the pedway where we chatted and made plans to continue networking at the surrounding properties before turning in to prepare for the days ahead.
When I hit the World Trade and Convention Centre on Monday morning the air was thick with contagious energy. A jam packed day lay ahead! As the delegates enjoyed a gourmet meal in the Chairman’s Breakfast at the Delta Hotels, my co-workers and I prepared for the day. Once the delegates returned to the WTCC for the musical opening, the energy building could no longer be contained. Wave Productions burst into a rendition of “Farwell to Nova Scotia” and all 600 delegates were up on their feet singing and dancing along. The Tourism Summit was off and running! As the first keynote speaker took the stage to set the stage for the morning of education sessions, I took my place at the Tourism Expo.
The Expo is a business to business expo and is the place to be if you want your products and services to be front and center to the tourism industry. I spent most of the day working the TIANS booth getting to know the other exhibitors, the conference attendees, and their businesses.
The really great thing about the Tourism expo is that all of the nutrition breaks for the day, including the luncheon, are held right on the expo floor. This maximizes the time delegates spend interacting with the exhibitors in the show. Everyone shared their meal together at the expo and made bids on the silent auction items while being serenaded with a special performance of local artist Thom Swift.
Monday afternoon marked a very special opportunity for the Tourism Summit delegates and one more of many to add to the reason’s why you should belong to TIANS; your provincial tourism association. The Minister’s address focused on the launch of the new Nova Scotia Tourism Agency and Tom Ruth, Interim Chair of the NSTA gave an update on the exciting changes coming down the pike. This new agency will play a major role in facilitating a long-term tourism strategy that will put us in the best possible position to address the challenges we face as an industry, and is the first time that public-private partnership will have industry and government working together to ensure tourism helps strengthen the economy and creates jobs. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to collecting direct feedback from each delegate on their ideas about where the future of tourism in Nova Scotia lies. Attendees were broken down into smaller groups; each with their own facilitator, and feedback was collected and sorted to be used for implementation for the new Nova Scotia Tourism Agency.
Using direct feedback from industry to spearhead the future direction of tourism? Now that’s connection! After the afternoon working groups, the last keynote speaker of the day, award wining comedian Derek Edwards, took the stage to educe laughter and lighten the mood in preparation for the evenings networking event. At the NSCC Networking reception we mingled with tourism’s future leaders and ate some more delicious freshly prepared food. A good night’s sleep was on my agenda directly afterwards. I had to be fresh for the final day of the Tourism Summit!
The final day of the Tourism Summit continued with the previous day’s momentum. It began with the Industry breakfast where delegates ate, enjoyed each others company, and watched our local communities be recognized for their efforts in the Communities in Bloom Program. I spent the morning between working in the Business Center with our student volunteers, and moderating and attending educational sessions. Lunch on Tuesday was a smorgasbord of leaders in the food community catered entirely by Taste of Nova Scotia members. Food stations were set up around the perimeter of the room, so that attendees could taste local product and learn more about how it was made while Taste of Nova Scotia executive director, Janice Ruddock MC’d the Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Awards. As Doug Lanski, Award winning travel writer and the last keynote speaker to take the stage was starting; I unfortunately had to sneak out early in preparation for the Crystal Awards of Excellence Gala. As the Provincial Coordinator for the Pineapple Awards who presents these awards during the show, I always meet the Pineapple winners off site before the Gala reception to congratulate them personally for what they do for the visitors to Nova Scotia, and to walk with them to the event.
The Crystal Tourism Awards are the grand finale to the Annual Tourism Summit, and in my opinion, there is no better celebration of excellence. The industry gathers to rejoice in the recognition of peers by acknowledging and applauding their hard work. The beautiful awards gifted to the winners made from mouth blown Nova Scotian Crystal are quite the perk as well! The order of the night was eat drink and be merry while the Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence and Pineapple Pride in Service Awards were presented in front of an audience of 700 people.
After a cocktail reception, the black tie event unfolds inside a stunningly decorated ballroom where guests dine on a full four-course meal regaling in stories from the Summit and excitedly waiting for what will be coming next. To begin the Gala this year, we all had the amazing opportunity to be privy to a song writers circle highlighting three Nova Scotia musicians led by Dave Gunning. For the second time in as many days, the entire room lifted their voices and joined in song. What a way to set the mood!
As the awards presentation began, there was a video montage focusing on the evenings Master of Ceremonies, Bob Sime. As the presenter of the Pineapple Awards, I have been sharing the stage with Mr. Sime for many years and one of the things that makes him a terrific host is that you never know what you’re going to get. Before the beginning of each Gala Bob will come up to me and say something like “This year when you take the stage, I’m going to try something a little different”. So I just go with it, and I’m never sorry. This year showed the inclusion of a step-stool on stage as a comedy prop (you had to be there to see it). Charismatic and hilarious, I can’t imagine the ceremony without Bob Sime.
The evening flowed along smoothly as the Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence and Pineapple Pride in Service Awards were presented. I feel truly honoured each year to co-host this extraordinary Gala Awards presentation. Hearing the heartfelt words from the winners, sponsors, and TIANS board members throughout the night was truly was a fitting end to 3 magical days. To end the experience, “Vintage Vegas” was created with John Gracie singing the crooner classics. Everyone snacked on sweets from a desert bar that spanned as far as the eyes could see, and danced until after midnight in celebration of another monumental Tourism Summit.
This 2011 Tourism Summit – The Tourism Connection drew a record number of delegates. This important event for our industry would not have been possible without our many partnerships and sponsors.With their support, we are able to make this a high quality and accessible conference for anyone interested in attending. We ask you to recognize our Summit Partners and support those companies that are investing in the tourism industry. TIANS looks forward to serving you in 2012 and we invite you all to come join us and put yourself in the middle of Tourism in Nova Scotia by experiencing the exquisite event that is the Tourism Summit!
Written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
We’re dedicating this blog post to a summary of an article that is currently running in the New Yorker on cooking in Nova Scotia. New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin limits his time in the kitchen to his time in Nova Scotia; he only cooks when he’s here because our local foods and ingredients cannot be matched! Calvin gives high praise for our seafood and the experience of being here.
Calvin’s complete article is on newsstands in the November 21st issue of the New Yorker, as well as in the magazine’s iPad digital edition. We encourage you to give it a read and share it with others, letting everyone know that, when it comes to fresh, local cooking, there is no better place to enjoy it than right here in Nova Scotia!
Summary of Calvin Trillin’s Article:
We all know that Nova Scotia has some great, local cuisine. The province is a food lover’s paradise! No matter where you go, you’ll find the makings of a delicious meal. From Atlantic lobster to Digby scallops, Lunenburg sausage to local venison, and Oxford blueberries to Annapolis Valley fiddleheads, the province can tempt the palate of just about anyone.
Now readers of the popular New Yorker – a magazine covering a range of topics, from social commentary to emerging trends, and boasting a circulation of over a million readers per issue – are about to share in what is undoubtedly our worst kept secret.
Columnist and author Calvin Trillin’s article in the New Yorker’s November 21st issue explores his love of cooking – but only in Nova Scotia.
Calvin admits that he’s never been an accomplished chef. That changed when he started spending summers in Nova Scotia. Inspired by the abundance of fresh seafood and local ingredients, Calvin fell in love with cooking in our seacoast province. These days, he sees cooking as a Nova Scotia-only experience – something he doesn’t attempt anywhere else.
As he writes in his article titled “My Repertoire”, Calvin describes how his cooking has become geographically locked to Nova Scotia:
“I cook only in Nova Scotia. The last time I cooked in New York, where I live during the rest of the year, was when my daughters were small and I made them a scrambled egg every morning for breakfast before they went off for school. One morning, they came down the stairs, hand in hand, and announced they were never again going to eat one of my scrambled eggs.”
Since then, Calvin has limited his cooking to summers at the family cottage – a time when he could relax and pick out the freshest local ingredients from both sea and land. Smoked salmon, Digby scallops, Solomon Gundy and Lunenburg pudding were just some of the local dishes he fell in love with, inspiring him to limit his cooking to Nova Scotia.
“Like chefs who are identified with the new, ingredient-driven American cuisine, I hasten to give much of the credit to local ingredients: the scallops available in Nova Scotia are incomparable. In fact, one way of looking at my Nova Scotia cooking repertoire is that I’m not a cooking klutz with a limited number of dishes at his disposal but locavore of such purity that I cook only what can definitely be certified as local and seasonal.”
Posted and introduction written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
Written by Darlene Grant Fiander, President of TIANS
In an effort to increase awareness of tourism issues and seek greater support of the federal government, TIANS and the Hotel Association of Canada embarked on a Tourism Matters Campaign with our federal Members of Parliament during the summer of 2011. We sent letters out to all of the Nova Scotia MP’s, requesting face to face meetings, where possible, in their own ridings. Responses were great and interest high; meetings were quickly scheduled. Along with general discussion during the meetings, each MP was provided a package of information that included an overview of the tourism sector both nationally and provincially and a recap of some of the major issues impeding tourism growth with references to additional information. One of the most significant things we wanted to achieve was to elevate the focus of tourism in the federal conversations. Tourism’s role as a significant economic driver is not well understood and we need our elected MP’s working more collectively on issues that impact the province. We stressed the need for champions on important federal issues and urged all MP’s to take a collective and, tourism first, approach to help Nova Scotia reach its potential.
To lead the discussions, a couple of key areas which need immediate attention were highlighted in a Tourism Matters handout. They included:
• Canada and Nova Scotia’s Declining Market Share
• Global Cost Competitiveness – Air Travel Cost
• Need for a Forward Looking Tourism Strategy – provincially and federally
• Access into the Province
• Labour Force Challenges
• Homeport Status for Port of Halifax
• Travel and Tourism Infrastructure
• Smart Security and Border Controls
Canadian Tourism Facts:
¬ Tourism in Canada is a $74 billion industry which impacts all 308 federal ridings across the nation
¬ In 2009, Canada’s tourism industry generated $10.2 billion in government tax revenues, $8.8 billion of which was federal revenue
¬ The nearly $20 billion in tax revenues helps fund our country’s health care and education systems
¬ The jobs of 1 in 10 working Canadians rely on tourism – that’s 1.6 million jobs
¬ In Canada, tourism amounts to 2% of our GDP, significantly smaller than many of our international competitors
¬ Canada’s travel deficit – the difference between what foreigners spend here and what Canadians spend abroad – was estimated to be $12 billion in 2009
Nova Scotia Tourism Facts:
¬ Tourism spending in Nova Scotia generates $1.8 billion in revenues and contributes $225 million in tax revenue. Nearly $105 million is federal tax revenue
¬ Tourism employs approximately 35,000 Nova Scotians
¬ In Nova Scotia, tourism generates as much economic activity as forestry, fishing, and agriculture combined
Meetings at a Glance:
On Monday, July 25th myself and Nicholas Carson, Chairman of the Hotel Association of Canada, began the campaign. Our first meeting was with Honourable Scott Brison, Liberal Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants.
We arrived in Wolfville for our 2:00 meeting at Mr. Brison’s office. It was a beautiful day and as we looked out toward the Minas Basin over rolling farm land, we could not help but express our appreciation for the incredible scenery and be in awe of the natural product that is our tourism industry’s finest and best asset.
We met with Mr. Brison and Dale Palmeter for just over an hour and talked about the need for federal champions for the tourism sector. We talked about the federal priorities needing attention, that would help Canada regain its position in the top 10 travel destinations and we talked about the issues facing Nova Scotia.
We spoke at length about the challenges in rural Nova Scotia and the ongoing impact as a result of the lack of ferry access, infrastructure and product quality, they are having on the sector. Mr. Brison expressed great interest in the conversation and we spoke of the need for an integrated approach to tourism growth, which would consider the role of immigration and education as opportunities to support tourism activity. As we wrapped up our meeting, we discussed the need to continue the dialogue with innovative business operators and community members to brainstorm on new ways of approaching tourism.
On our way out of Wolfville we stopped in to see a TIANS member at In Wolfville Luxury Bed & Breakfast, a beautiful property located at 56 Main Street. We met with Pamela Townsend, who assumed the property in 2009 along with her husband Gordon. We were pleased to hear Pamela indicate that business levels so far, were positive this season.
As we drove back to Halifax and reflected on the meeting, we were more convinced of the need to continue these tourism conversations with politicians at all levels. The potential for tourism is great in Nova Scotia but we need leadership on policy issues that are impeding growth, and new attention to tourism’s economic potential.
Our second meeting as part of the Tourism Matters Campaign took place on Wednesday, July 27th when we met with the Honourable Geoff Regan, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, at his Bedford constituency office.
Bedford is a great example of a town that has evolved into a major centre of business and commerce, yet one still feels a strong sense of the history of the community. Founded in 1751, and named Bedford in 1850, it has a population of approximately 17,000 residents. There are a number of tourism businesses in Bedford and many TIANS members were some of the earliest operators in the area. We were joined at this meeting by Stuart Jolliffe, General Manager of the two Delta Hotels in Halifax. As a focus for the meeting, we pressed the need for strong voices on tourism in Ottawa and asked Geoff to advocate for the implementation of the draft Federal Tourism Strategy. We talked about the need for cross-departmental focus on issues like transportation, security, environment and others, all of which greatly impact the tourism sector. Our conversation soon turned to Nova Scotia and the ongoing decline in international market share. We were impressed with Geoff’s understanding of the issues and urged him to be a Champion for Nova Scotia’s tourism sector at the national level.
On Tuesday, August 2nd, our first meeting with a member of the federal NDP was with Honourable Peter Stoffer, MP for Sackville – Eastern Shore.
Peter met with Nick Carson and myself at the TIANS office. As with the other MP’s, we outlined the key issues in the national White Paper on Tourism and discussed opportunities for Nova Scotia. We talked about the value homeport status would have for the economy of Nova Scotia and urged support for movement here. Currently as a port-of-call, Halifax and Nova Scotia are missing great opportunities to increase visitors and revenue for Nova Scotia. Nick and I were both impressed with Peter’s interest in tourism at a local and provincial level. He told us about his efforts to promote Canada as a Golf Destination and advised us that he is currently the Chair of the All-Parliamentary Golf Caucus, a group of 18 members encouraging growth and support of the sport and tourism activity. He also expressed interest in seeing more Atlantic efforts around tourism promotion and activity. Peter offered to follow-up with key members of the federal government regarding our meeting and offered good advice on getting messages to our national representatives.
On Wednesday, August 3rd we met with the newly elected, Honourable Robert Chisholm, (NDP) federal Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour. Robert and his Executive Assistant, Matthew Spurway, joined us at the TIANS office, as their constituency office was under development.
Most of you will know Robert from his time as the leader of the provincial NDP party for many years. His vast experience in government and sincere interest in the province provided a unique conversation for us as he has the perspective now from both levels of government. After discussing our core national issues we spent considerable time around the homeport conversation and urged Robert and Matthew to follow-up as to the steps required to make this possible for Nova Scotia.
We talked about access into Nova Scotia and the importance of international routes for both trade and tourism. Robert is the critic for international trade, making this conversation particularly relevant for him.
Tuesday, August 23rd we travelled to Sydney to meet with the MP for Sydney-Victoria, Honourable Mark Eyking and Laurel Munroe, Communications Manager/Executive Assistant to Honourable Rodger Cuzner, MP for Cape Breton-Canso.
We were joined at the meeting by TIANS Board Member, Scott MacAulay, of Cape Breton Resorts. Scott’s perspective added a great deal to the conversation as a significant employer throughout Cape Breton. Mark is a long serving MP with a great passion for Cape Breton and a good understanding of the role tourism plays in rural Nova Scotia.
As with the other candidates, we discussed national issues and spent considerable time on the provincial opportunities with tourism. We discussed the challenges around doing business in Nova Scotia, with the federal and provincial policies and bureaucracy, which make it difficult. We spoke of opportunities with achieving homeport status for the Port of Halifax and urged Mark to discuss, with his colleagues, how they could work together to improve the tourism sector in Nova Scotia.
Scott suggested that the Nova Scotia MP’s meet with the Premier of Nova Scotia to talk about tourism’s role in the Nova Scotia economy and discuss what they could do by working together to address
access, market growth and a more competitive business environment. Mark was very supportive of a collaborative and cooperative approach.
After the meeting Nick went on to do business at the Cambridge Suites Sydney and I called in at Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. I was fortunate to be able to meet briefly with Cathy MacKenzie, Development Officer, Marlene Usher, Executive Director General – Advocacy & Development, and Tom Plumridge, Director General – Community Development. ECBC has a strong focus on tourism growth for Cape Breton and we took the opportunity to talk about the potential tourism has for the province and the need for all partners to leverage resources together. I also dropped in to the new Destination Cape Breton office; staff were busy and excited about the upcoming inaugural “Right Some Good Festival” that was opening later that week!
On Wednesday, August 24th Nick and I travelled back from Cape Breton stopping when we could, at TIANS members’ properties, to gauge business levels. Overall business levels appear to be down with more last-minute bookings, price conscious consumers and fewer international tourists. We arrived in Truro for a meeting with Honourable Scott Armstrong, MP for Cumberland – Colchester – Musquodoboit Valley, at 1:00. Scott’s office is located in a refurbished school that is over 100 years old.
It is a great example of reuse and redevelopment of a heritage building. Scott has been an MP since 2009. As in our previous meetings, we asked Scott to be a more vocal champion for the tourism sector. We outlined issues impeding both Canada and Nova Scotia’s growth and urged him, as a member of the current government, to talk to his colleagues about homeport status for Halifax. We talked about the challenge of rural vs. urban and the need for a growth strategy for tourism that would maximize the benefits to rural Nova Scotia. As with all MP’s, we spoke at length of the impact the lack of connection to the United States is having throughout the province with no ferry access into Yarmouth. As we left, we told Scott we were hopeful of a meeting with all Nova Scotia MP’s and he expressed his interest in being involved. Scott also said he would do some homework on the steps required for homeport status and whether a legislative change would be required.
Before we left Truro, Nick and I dropped in to see TIANS Board Member, Anne McDonah at the Belgravia B&B. Anne and her husband D’arcy were busy getting ready for a full house of guests that night. The Belgravia is a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in a charming home, originally built by Dr. E. Ambrose Randall in 1903. Anne and D’arcy have owned the property for 14 years, raising their four children and successfully running the property.
On August 25th, we headed out from Halifax to meet with Honourable Gerald Keddy, a long serving Member of Parliament for South Shore – St. Margaret’s. We were met in Bridgewater by Danny Morton, General Manager of White Point Beach Resort and TIANS Board Member and Past Chairman, who joined us for the meeting.
Gerald has a unique perspective with a background as a rural farmer and business owner. He understands the challenges in rural Nova Scotia and resource based industries.
As with Scott, we stressed the opportunity for him as a member of the current government, to have a stronger voice for the tourism sector. We asked him to inquire about the federal tourism strategy with the current Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, Maxime Bernier, as well as in his capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and for the Atlantic Gateway, to champion homeport options for Nova Scotia. We talked at length about the impact the lack of ferry service is having and Danny stressed the business impact that he and other businesses along the south shore are having this year as a result. We promised to send additional background information and were encouraged by the conversation and interest in the current issues.
On Friday, September 9th, we arrived at the Municipal Office in Little Brook, Nova Scotia to meet with Honourable Greg Kerr, Conservative MP for West Nova. Mr. Kerr was joined by his Regional Executive Assistant, Arnold LeBlanc.
Little Brook is an Acadian community located in the Clare Municipal District in Digby County. I was joined by Danny Morton, TIANS Board Member from the Southwest region.
Before we arrived at the meeting we went to Université Sainte-Anne and toured the recently opened Acadian museum on their campus. The exhibit is extremely well done and includes a local gallery and gift shop that were very impressive. This asset will be important in the region for encouraging tourism traffic and telling the story of Acadian life. Our meeting with Greg and Arnold was scheduled for 2:00. We were anxious to meet with Greg, as much of what we have been hearing from operators on our touring of the province, was around the lack of business they are experiencing as a result of no ferry service direct from the United States. What has been striking as we tour the province is the consistent message from operators all over in relation to the US market. The misinformation regarding the Yarmouth entry point is that this is a Yarmouth issue and nothing could be further from the truth. Losing direct link to the US has hurt tourism operators and businesses all over the province.
In our meeting we spoke of the challenges facing rural coastal communities and the opportunities that tourism could play in revitalizing rural economies. Greg and Arnold told us about the original Charter for Nova Scotia that is on display in Annapolis Royal and the opportunities we have to tell our story in a way that will resonate with the growing number of tourism heritage enthusiasts. We spoke about the Yarmouth Port facility as an asset and the opportunities that could be had with homeporting for Halifax. Greg suggested we speak to David Whiting from the Yarmouth Port Authority and further noted he would be speaking at an upcoming conference of small ports at The Digby Pines and would inquire about homeporting. Greg indicated we should request an opportunity to present to the Atlantic Caucus of MP’s which meets regularly in Ottawa. I agreed to connect with my Atlantic colleagues and forward a request to Greg to get on the Atlantic MP Caucus agenda.
The meeting ended after 3:00 and we left with new opportunities to follow-up on. Danny headed back to White Point via Yarmouth, I headed back up the shore and could not help but be struck by how beautiful the views along the ocean are; how uncrowded and serene the small communities are that run one after the other. As I headed into places like Annapolis Royal, Bridgetown and others – I thought about places in the eastern United States that are tourist havens and packed on weekends as people from the larger cities strive to get away from it all. We could be that place for them if we only had a way they could get to us……
Additional and Pending Meetings:
In June of 2011, before we launched our Tourism Matters Campaign, a meeting was held with Megan Leslie, Member of Parliament for Halifax, and Nicholas Carson to discuss tourism issues and federal NDP support for a new Convention Centre.
Request for a meeting with Minister MacKay has been made and his staff are looking at fall dates. We look forward to meeting with Minister MacKay, who has been a strong supporter of tourism in his Pictou County riding.
Nova Scotia has the best of everything that a world-class tourism destination can offer. Given this fact, you’d think that there would already be strong public policies in place to assist visitors in coming to Nova Scotia both easily and affordably. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Nova Scotia is basically an island. We have 7600km of coastline, with no two alike. We’re surrounded by water on three sides and connected to our neighbour province by a small area of land at the Northern tip of Nova Scotia in Amherst. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on the eastern side of the province, is an actual island connected to the mainland by way of the Canso Causeway.
Our geography is a blessing because it gives us the natural beauty most people can only dream of, and the simple and slower paced seacoast lifestyle you can’t help but fall in love with. These things are wonderful, but how about sustainable? Well, if we can’t get people here by water, land, or air to experience what we have to offer, then sustainability is open for debate.
The tremendous economic impact the tourism industry has in Nova Scotia cannot be overlooked. Access challenges to and from the province have been mounting and our members have vocalized the negative impact these challenges are having on their businesses. TIANS has rallied hard to raise the profile of tourism and its impact on our communities. We’ve had specific focus on Transportation and Infrastructure issues this past year including signage, roadway investment, and overall, accessibility to the province.
Most recently, TIANS wrote the 11 Provincial MP’s and requested meetings to discuss these issues again in order to stress the importance of having some long-term solutions put into place. The meetings have been on-going this week and will continue for the next two weeks. We look forward to sharing the progress of these meetings with you, and hope for timely solutions.
In the meantime, we would like to share a letter we received at the office from a visitor who purchased a property in Nova Scotia. As you read this letter below, please ask yourself, how many visitors without a home investment would go the extra steps to get here? I’m interested to see what story the 2011 tourism stats will tell.
A Letter from a Visitor – Double Tap‐ Access Into Nova Scotia: I am so excited about our summer home in Nova Scotia that I want friends and family to come to visit. Heck, I’d like to come up one week a month during our season to see my husband while he restores our home. But that is proving harder to do each year.
“You can’t get there from here” the old Maine saying goes. I never thought it would apply to the tourist area of the South Shore, Nova Scotia.
I understand that fuel prices are up, but why should it cost twice what it did last summer to fly into Nova Scotia? With taxes we are looking at over $900 US, then a tank of gas to pick me up at the airport. I can fly to Toronto for $484 round trip;Halifax is $910, both before taxes. I have heard that there is an extra “hidden” fee to land in Nova Scotia. Those prices just send people elsewhere and it is killing your tourism industry. I own property in Nova Scotia so my solution has been to travel through a combination of rail and air; which adds an extra full day’s travel on each end of my trip. Some solution!
I know that the ferry system was flawed, expensive too, but it was an alternative. My brother vacations in Kennebunkport every Labor Day and wanted so badly to hop the ferry and visit. That’s another stay in Nova Scotia unrealized.
I live in an area in the US that is so inundated with tourists that it can sometimes call into question the quality of your life. So I say this, being careful what I wish for, it seems that there should be a way to get to the area reasonably and infuse the local economy with tourism dollars.
Why should it be so expensive to come here? In June, the airline cancelled my flight and put me on one 10 hours later. It had 16 people aboard. People just can’t afford it. We would have lots of folks visiting, but they cannot justify the cost. Can you help?
Written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager
Letter written and submitted by an American visitor to Nova Scotia, July 2011
Online reviews are a big part of today’s tourism landscape, and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. When speaking with members, I always get questions about online reviews and how to mange and leverage them; especially concerning TripAdvisor.
If you’ve been reading The Voice of Tourism blog, you may recall me writing about how the TIANS membership directs the initiatives we undertake and the work we do. So we thought, what would be the best way to get members the answers they’re looking for about online reviews and TripAdvisor? How about by providing the opportunity for members to present their questions directly to an expert employee of TripAdvisor? Enter Jim Brody, Trip Advisor’s Senior International Sales and Manager of Destination Marketing.
TIANS was introduced to Jim Brody through the 2010 Online Revealed conference. We asked Jim to come to Nova Scotia and present information to our membership, meet with all of Nova Scotia’s DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organization), and meet with the Department of Rural and Economic Development and Tourism; the largest provincial marketing body. He gladly agreed and set off for a 3-day, 4-night adventure in Nova Scotia.
I joined Jim on day 2 of his Nova Scotia adventure and the second TripAdvisor presentation for members on June 22, 2011. It was held at Old Orchard Inn, Conference Centre, and Spa in Wolfville located on the Fundy Shore & Annapolis Valley trail. Judy Saunders is the GM at Old Orchard, and she is a wonderful ambassador for the region and Nova Scotia as a whole. She, Jane Manning, and Bill Wallis ensured all of our needs were met during our stay. Old Orchard Inn features 101 deluxe guest rooms, 29 cabins, indoor pool and sauna, the Acadian Dining Room and much more. It sits nestled in one of the many beautiful apple orchards of Greenwich, crowing the hill overlooking stirring views of the AnnapolisValley, Minas Basin, and the Bay of Fundy. The views are so stirring in fact, that Jim stopped in his tracks when arriving on site and declared how beautiful it was.
The Bay of Fundy boasts the highest tides in the world and truly is a wonder to behold! The 45ft tides are so wondrous that thanks to the Vote My Fundy campaign championed by Terri McCulloch and the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership, we’ve been able to make the world aware of this phenomenon in our own backyard. The Bay of Fundy has been recognized as one of the finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the World international campaign! And rightfully so! If you haven’t voted for the Bay of Fundy yet, what are you waiting for? But…I digress.
It was such a beautiful, warm, and sunny day in the valley and members were in extra great spirits as they arrived for the TripAdvisor session. Information about “Maintaining your Reputation online in the age of Web 2.0” was presented. Jim delved into what to do when you get a bad review, how to respond to this difficult territory while maintaining your integrity and authenticity online, plus offered specific tips in working with TripAdvisor. A copy of Jim’s presentation can be obtained by contacting the TIANS office. A question and answer session followed the presentation and afterward at the Meet & Greet we all chatted and shared in snacking on the delectable selection of foods courtesy of the attentive staff at Old Orchard Inn. The immediate feedback from members was the presentation gave them valuable information to take back and apply to their businesses. Music to my ears!
At the conclusion on the Meet & Greet, we decided to explore the town of Wolfville. We called local company CJ Taxi and headed off to Domaine de Grand Pre. Grand Pre Wines Limited has been in the region for over 45 years and is currently a family owned and operated winery. The Stutz family has a true passion for wine and they work hard to develop special wines true to Nova Scotia by growing grapes that are developed for Nova Scotia’s specific climate and landscape. The result is an array of award-winning vintages appreciated across Canada and around the world!
Cäcilia Stutz-Spirig treated us to a world-class wine tasting experience in the on-site boutique. Jim Brody is a seasoned world traveler and he couldn’t hold back his praise for the wines stating they were some of the best he’d ever sampled. Well…of course they were! Nova Scotia is a very worthy competitor in the global marketplace.
As an extra special treat, owner Hanspeter Stutz gave us a sample of a soon to be released Tidal Bay Brand wine. It was exquisite as to be expected! After the tasting we explored the stunning acres of land at the winery and learned about the grape varieties unique to Nova Scotia.
For dinner we wanted to showcase some of the many local, organic products, and foods that Nova Scotia has to offer. We chose The Tempest Restaurant owned by Chef Michael Howell who specializes in the Slow Food experience. Slow Food believes in recognizing the importance of pleasure connected to food and respecting the rhythms of the seasons and conviviality. After enjoying the vast range of recipes and flavors presented to us at Tempest, we headed out on foot back to Old Orchard in order to get a closer view of the town. We took in views of member properties Victoria’s Historic Inn & Carriage House, Blomidon Inn, Garden House Bed & Breakfast, In Wolfville Luxury B, Roselawn Lodging, and caught the end of a non-competitive spirited game of soccer going on at Acadia University.
Jim was heading off to the TIANS office in Halifax the next morning for meetings with the Nova Scotia marketing bodies. He mentioned he was excited to come back in August to experience more of Nova Scotia and the Maritime provinces on his own. It made me proud to think Nova Scotia had made that strong of an impression on him already that before he had completed his first trip he wanted to come back. I must admit, I’ve never thought of myself as someone who takes for granted the many blessings found here. I still am blown away by the natural beauty of this Province, and when I’m on the road working I still pull over to snap pictures with my phone when I see something that takes my breath away. The hospitality of the people living and working here is unsurpassed. After looking through the eyes of a visitor to try to gain their perspective, I can say that not much has changed. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and can’t imagine another place I’d want to be. I won’t be “goin’ down the road” away from Nova Scotia any time soon.
Written by: Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Manager