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Trails and Partnerhips

April 9th - April 14th

Atlantic Canada is blessed with a wealth of unspoiled natural attributes, affording a tremendous opportunity to provide world-class nature-based tourism products. Trails-based tourism is one of the fastest growth sectors within the tourism industry, encompassing all tourism products involving trails; from hard adventure hiking to birding to resort getaways.

On this mission we will be exploring the Trail Town Program along the Great Allegheny Passage trail (GAP).  Here are a few facts on the program and the trail:
  • The Trail town program is an economic development and community revitalization initiative for businesses along the GAP trail
  • In 2007, it was the first trail to be named to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Hall of fame
  • In 2009, it was named one of”10 Great American Bike Trails” by Forbes Traveller
  • The GAP is very user friendly, and offers trail level riding for people of all ages and experience levels 
  • The trail stretches 217km ( 135 miles) from Cumberland MD to Duquesne, PA
 Our planning is being assisted by Will Prince with the Trail Town Program that has revolutionized the region.  This mission is designed to expose Atlantic Canadian trails-based tourism operators and stakeholders to destination(s) that have recognized the value of trails and collectively have developed their region as a trails destination. To stimulate the local economy along the GAP, the exemplary Trail Town Program was developed, creating a continuous trail experience that connects communities and towns along the trail to service today’s trail users who frequent restaurants, bike shops, grocery stores, small town shops, etc. This is a destination where clusters of tourism products and businesses exist in conjunction with walking trails for visitors and the trails effectively partner with these local businesses. The purpose of this mission is to learn how to develop trail products/communities that encourage the trail user to get off the trail to enjoy the scenery, services, and heritage of the towns. How to develop partnerships with local businesses/communities, and gain insight into what trail users expect for standards, price and length of stay will be key components of the mission.
 
Target participants: Economic Development Officers, Regional Development Corporations, Bed and Breakfast Association reps, Trail Groups, Operators in close proximity to trails,
 
Learning Objectives:
  • To visit a destination that has recognized the value of trails and collectivelyhas developed their region as a trails destination. 
  • To learn how to take advantage of a trail location by creating experiences around the trail and by successfully developing and packaging the trail experience (tour operators, service providers, accommodations, etc.).
  • How to engage non-traditional operators to be involved in creating a trail destination and service the trail user by transforming into tourism operators. 
  • How to develop “trail towns” (a destination along a long-distance trail) that encourages the trail users off the trail to enjoy the scenery, services, and heritage of the communities. 
  • How to educate local businesses on the economic benefits of meeting trail tourists needs.
  • How to recruit new businesses or expand existing ones to fill gaps in the goods or services that trail users need.  
  • How to work with neighboring communities to promote the entire trail corridor as a tourist destination.  
  • What tactics were used to receive buy-in from stakeholders on the “Destination Trail” model. 
  • How to promote the multi day experience and the amenities offered (i.e. Bed & Breakfasts along the route, etc.). 
  • What criteria are used to determine potential areas for Destination Trail development. 
  • Learn ideas for consistent signage and way-finding with potential gateway signage as trail users enter communities. 
  • Gain insight into what trail users expect in regards to standards, price and length; learn about the profile of trail users and what services and experiences these users are most interested in.  
  • How creating a high quality, all season trail system contributes to the area’s development as a world-class tourist destination
Click here to view this mission's draft itinerary Click here to read the Trails and Parnterships Final Report

 

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a trail that offers 135 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, MD, and Duquesne, PA, near Pittsburgh. To stimulate the local economy along the GAP, the exemplary Trail Town Program was developed, creating a continuous trail experience that connects communities and towns along the trail to service today’s trail users who frequent restaurants, bike shops, grocery stores, small town shops, etc. This is a destination where clusters of tourism products and businesses exist in conjunction with walking trails for visitors and the trails effectively partner with these local businesses. The purpose of this mission is to learn how to develop trail products/communities that encourage the trail user to get off the trail to enjoy the scenery, services, and heritage of the towns. How to develop partnerships with local businesses/communities, and gain insight into what trail users expect for standards, price and length of stay will be key components of the mission.



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The Spring 2014 missions will be announced in the coming weeks. Please check back later!

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