Local Motion - New Brunswick

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February 19, 2009

Tourism, Sustainability Attainability on the Fundy Bay?

Earlier this week I attended a conference on Sustainable Tourism hosted by the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. It was a gathering of tourism operators, government officials, town councillors, academia, hikers, and people who care about the area.

It was an opportunity for the Tourism Assoc. of N.B. to release the report entitled:

Upper Bay of Fundy : A World Biosphere Destination
Business Development Strategic and Action Plans

It pointed to areas of growth, tourism trends, and opportunities for the area. Its heavily based on a predicted surge in tourism due to the Fundy Trail Parkway completion in the next few years. And its about how to turn the wave of tourism into jobs.

Gary Clark, who some call "Canada's father of Sustainable Tourism" started each day with an inspiring lecture on sustainability and tourism. He lives true to his vision and demonstrates that sustainable tourism is possible, at the Inn he keeps. The Biosphere he worked to create in Ontario is striving for a sensible balance of conservation, cultural preservation, and tourism. The clear vision he drew in our minds each morning grew muddy throughout the day with talk of jobs, international tourists, and Fundy growth.

The conference left me with a lot to think about. How do we create jobs in an area without greasing the machine with jet fuel? How do tourists (some, the disdain of some locals) affect local pride and use of the Fundy Coast? How do we balance jobs and tourists? Can we all use it? How do we grow pride in our region? How can I personally do my part to expose local people (especially youth) to the wild fragile beauty of this area?

If Sustainable tourism is about reducing our impact on the earth, shouldn't it start by staying at home and learning to love the immensity of our wilds and appreciating our rich cultural heritage? What if instead of advertising overseas, we invested our time and money here. We could generate such a wide diversity of activities (adventurous and cultural) that every local has a life time worth of travelling to do right here in southern NB. Our enthusiasm and pride would draw world wide attention and inspire others to realize their own local potential. After all the best place to be is where you are.

The area's potential is boggling. There is tremendous opportunity for good and bad development. Luckily, the Fundy Biosphere Region has been formed which aims to preserve the area's unique natural and cultural communities. It's a giant first step. My impression is that there is willingness among towns and tour operators to work towards more environmental sound tourism in the area. Yves Gagnon, the interim Chairperson for the FBR, ended the conference with a reminder -You must remember that as individials we are all responsible for the future of this area. We all must do our part to make this region truly sustainable. No one else can do it for us.


The FBR, designated by watershed divides actually has a fuzzy boundary. It is happy to include any area willing to adopt its mandate.

1 comment:

travel jobs said...

The tourism industry is not only reliable in exposing the beauty of the world but it is also great in helping out with the economy. travel and tourism jobs are really great for a country or state as it brings in money and it gives tons of people new jobs.