NS: No wrong turn to be focus of Cape Breton tourism marketing

Laura Jean Grant
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The Cape Breton Post

Max MacDonald, left, and Joella Foulds, right, co-founders of the Celtic Colours International Festival, were inducted into the Cape Breton Tourism Hall of Fame, Thursday, at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. The two sang a couple tunes with several local musicians, including Buddy MacDonald, middle left, and Darrell Keigan.

[MEMBERTOU, NS] — Cape Breton Island: There is no wrong turn.

That’s one of the messages that will be used to entice potential visitors to the island in 2011, according to a marketing plan unveiled Thursday by Destination Cape Breton and representatives from Extreme Group, the company hired to assist in putting it into action.

“Cape Breton ... is an island, so there’s a beginning and an end always and the ‘no wrong turn,’ really if any one of us want to think about it, it doesn’t matter where you go, you do get to end up in a beautiful spot and hopefully a great experience to go with that,” Destination Cape Breton CEO Mary Tulle said during a tourism industry day at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.

The ‘no wrong turn’ slogan will be a big part of the marketing and promotion of island destinations and products this season, popping up in a variety of places, according to Dan Coffin, marketing manager with Destination Cape Breton. There will be regional marketing campaigns in newspapers across Atlantic Canada and in Ontario — Cape Breton’s two primary visitor markets — and there will also be advertising in various guides, specialty magazines, and online or popular travel websites. They will also be spreading the word about Cape Breton on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

But the driving force behind it all will be the website — www.cbisland.com — which Coffin said the association wants to fill with high-quality content like photos, videos and information about island attractions and businesses.

“Our website is going to be our key,” Coffin, told the crowd of tourism industry stakeholders. “It’s been rebuilt a little in 2010 so we have a new look and feel for it. The resource is going to be continually enhanced and we’re going to be enhancing it by putting out more requests for your operator listings. We want to see at least one photo and a 75-word description for every operator that’s eligible on the island.”

Among Destination Cape Breton’s goals for 2011 are to increase traffic to www.cbisland.com by 10 per cent, increase visits to major area attractions by five per cent, and to increase the island’s profile and brand awareness online.

Just weeks away from the start of the busiest part of the 2011 tourism season, Tulle said she’s hearing encouraging signs from business operators.

“We’re hearing good things thus far. We’re hearing that the phones are ringing and we’re seeing smiles on faces,” she said. Weather and the price of gas are always factors beyond their control, she added, when it comes to predicting what a season will be like.

During Thursday’s event, Destination Cape Breton also took the opportunity to hand out its annual awards. The visitor services award went to the Baddeck Area Business and Tourism Association, the product development award was presented to the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, and the marketing award was given to Cape Breton Resorts. Joella Foulds and Max MacDonald, co-founders of the Celtic Colours International Festival, were inducted into the Cape Breton Tourism Hall of Fame.

Organizations: Extreme Group, Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.The, Baddeck Area Business and Tourism Association Cape Breton Centre for Craft Celtic

Geographic location: Cape Breton Island, Atlantic Canada, Ontario

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