Cape Breton University launches new institute to grow island tourism
'We can come up with different ideas and approaches to some of our problems and ... some of our opportunities'
Cape Breton University announced a new tourism institute on Wednesday that will compile research from global experts to help local operators learn best practices.
University president David Dingwall said during a press conference in Baddeck that the university has a role to play in growing the tourism sector through its hospitality and tourism management program.
He said collaboration between global and local tourism operators will help grow the industry.
"We can come up with different ideas and approaches to some of our problems, and more importantly, some of our opportunities," Dingwall said.
Keith Brown is co-director of the World Tourism Institute and a professor in the university's MBA program.
"We know there are thousands of people working on the island and tourism, but we can't tell you definitively how many," he said. "And it's important if you're trying to have a goal of how you're going to grow something, you have to know where your starting line is."
The institute has an advisory board made up of local operators who will provide input on trends, gaps and opportunities on the island.
One of the advisors is Mike MacSween, executive director of the Celtic Colours International Festival.
"My hope with this is that we'll be able to, in working with other players in the sector, define some new research opportunities that will help us to better understand the sector as it is now and hopefully better understand the opportunities that exist for tourism on the island," he said.
The institute will host professional development sessions for local operators to learn best practices.
It also aims to host two tourism conferences, one for local operators this fall and an international one in 2021.
"We're imagining large groups of industry professionals, practitioners, academic researchers around the world who are interested in that meeting between the best of Cape Breton Island tourism and the best of the world tourism," Brown said.