DSWNA overcomes growing pains
By Jennifer Hoegg
The Hants Journal/NovaNewsNow.com
The amalgamated tourism marketing board is overcoming its “growing pains.”
Windsor’s community development and tourism coordinator VanEssa Roberts has been part of Destination Southwest Nova Scotia Association since its birth.
As part of the executive of the Evangeline Trail Tourist Association (ETTA), Roberts joined the interim board when Evangeline, Lighthouse and Yarmouth associations began the process of amalgamating several years ago. The three tourism boards formed an informal marketing consortium before officially joining, with an elected DSWNA board in place by May 2007.
Roberts acknowledged there have been challenges as the board found its feet. With such a large area, there was bound to be conflicts, but there have been successful efforts to bring everyone together.
The new logo is a symbol of the cooperation, Roberts noted. “I commend the marketing committee. It so succinctly, yet simply, says ‘here are your three regions. This is who we are.’” Roberts pointed out that “we are trying to do a better job of marketing the region as a whole. We want the visitor to ‘do the loop’ if you’re coming into Nova Scotia from any gateway, travel all of the regions in the area. Then we all benefit.”
Windsor was one of 26 municipalities that made a financial contribution to the organization last year. “As a town, we strongly support tourism,” Roberts said. “For the town, getting people from Metro to come out and visit our region, we want them to see the vibrancy that is here. As people start to do more daytrips, they’ll see that we’re not that far, and maybe end up moving here. Economic development and tourism go hand-in-hand.”
Being part of the regional association isn’t just about money for the local Visitor Information Centre (VIC), Roberts added. “It is about leveraging dollars and building stronger partnerships.” Partnering makes sense because “we all want to grow tourism in our region.”
And it’s not just up to government, she said. “I strongly believe that as much as there is municipal and provincial investment, it really needs to be industry-driven. We need the industry at the table; we need the small businesses, the medium businesses and large businesses.” Broad participation in the DSWNA boards and committees is also important: “There is a time commitment that people need to make.”