Funding to help promote Eastern Shore as tourism destination

A visionary group of volunteers, businesses and community leaders are taking innovative steps to promote the tourism potential of the Bay of Islands area along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia—one of Nova Scotia’s best kept secrets. Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores Association (DEANS) is kicking off mainland Nova Scotia’s first Strategic Tourism Expansion Program (STEP), thanks to support from the Government of Canada.


Developed by ACOA’s Tourism Atlantic in 2012, STEP was launched to help communities become in-demand, sustainable tourism destinations. STEP is an innovative, comprehensive process that guides citizens, businesses and community leaders through a series of well-tested, strategic "steps" aimed at creating a sustainable tourism plan that incorporates products, services and experiential tourism. It helps provide community residents and entrepreneurs with an understanding of how practical destination development occurs, about industry trends and the art and science behind experiential tourism development.


DEANS is receiving a federal contribution of $44,375, through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund, to undertake STEP along the Eastern Shore, from Jeddore to Sherbrooke, to advance the area as a sustainable tourism destination. A consultant specializing in creatively linking community assets will lead the STEP process by facilitating grassroots sessions that will unearth innovative tourism experiences unique to the Bay of Islands area, and will initiate the marketing and branding framework for the region.


The Bay of Islands STEP will result in a new tourism development strategy for the area, driven by community and business engagement, in collaboration with the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s. Halifax and the District of St. Mary’s are contributing $2,500 and $250, respectively, to the project, with local businesses contributing a further $12,625.


“This announcement acknowledges the significant progress that has been made in our quest to advance the development of the Bay of Islands area of the Eastern Shore – from Jeddore to Sherbrooke – as a sustainable tourism destination," says Cindy MacKinnon, managing director, DEANS. "The collaboration with HRM and the District of St. Mary’s characterizes the future of tourism for our communities and our growing collective capacity to implement ambitious tourism development for our region.”


The Bay of Islands is the most ecologically unique set of islands in North America with intact forests that have been in continuous growth since the ice age.


DEANS serves 12 municipal units within the counties of Antigonish, Guysborough, Pictou, and eastern Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). It is one of three regional tourism industry associations in Nova Scotia that are provincially recognized as a working group with the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency.


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