Cabot Trail tourism operators to make better use of technology

Tourism operators in Cape Breton talked about ways to better promote opportunities for visitors to experience the island's natural beauty at a Cabot Trail Tourism Solutions conference this week.

Week-long conference brainstormed ways to encourage visitors to share experiences

Cabot Trail tourism operators want more of their customers to share their photos of the Cape Breton experience online. (Courtesy Mike Grandmaison)

Tourism operators in Cape Breton are looking for better ways to promote opportunities for visitors to experience the island's natural beauty.

It was one of the priorities discussed at a Cabot Trail Tourism Solutions conference this week.

Paul Weinberg owns a wilderness resort on Cape Breton's north shore and chairs the Cabot Trail Steering Committee. He says a key theme that emerged was how to better share with the world what the island has to offer.

"One thing that we came up with is just how technology can actually extend to let people have experiences before they get here," he said. 

"So one way to do that is by linking a bunch of the web sites that are already being invested in at the provincial level and make some of them mobile-friendly, so that people can actually see videos and photos … so they can actually picture themselves in that natural environment, hiking along a beach, or going up a hill, or paddling a kayak."

Using visitor-created content

Tom Wilson, director of recreation and tourism for Victoria County, which hosted the conference along with Inverness County, says there's also potential to use content created by visitors themselves.

"For example, a lot of visitors will take pictures of the various spots where they stopped, and family photos and stuff like that, where we can show people that they're enjoying themselves while they're doing the Cabot Trail experience," Wilson said.

"And it's as important for the visitors to tell the story just as much as the Cabot Trail group."

Both Wilson and Weinberg agree that the Seawall Trail project holds potential to be a key draw in the future.

A volunteer group is working to develop a multi-day hiking trail from Meat Cove to Pleasant Bay through a protected wilderness area.

The project is still in the planning stages, but Weinberg says there's a lot of excitement about it.

"You would have a really unique experience that people from all over the world would come to do on Cape Breton," he said.

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