This is discussion about Re-inventing a geotourism destination in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Your initiative is very interesting mainly because of the range of services the organization provides the tourists with, such as eco-friendly loding, cooking classes and guided tours.
However, what I find fascinating is that you try to provide all these services in eco-friendly way, growing organic crops and purchasing most of your supplies from locals. I think this is great based on the fact that as you mentioned in the entry the area lost its popularity until early 1990's and that there was a lot of scepticism about establishment of your organization to begin with.
In addition to finding your initiative exciting, I also truly enjoyed reading your entry as it includes sufficient amount of information, from which I get what your organization and the activities you are involved in, are about. Interesting, informative and comprehensive reading.
Thank you and good luck in continuing your activities.
Vivid and detailed description for the origin of innovation.
However, there is quite a lot of improvement on this entry. Firstly, most of the content is actually fairly boring. For instance, I just do not feel much or connected to the unique experience, it simply does not sound unique or outstanding enough, so the entry must be more interesting before readers fall asleep. Moreover, the website is fairly immature. I would suggest you to utilize Web 2.0 elements to create a more dynamic, interesting, and interactive website to keep audiences’ eyes on you. Otherwise, even if people are searching for rooms or hotels in your area, they would not know how much and what you offer, since they would not even enter the website, as it is boring and old-fashioned. Last but not least, there should be more videos and pictures on the entry and the website to interest readers.
This is a very strong entry and I love the images they really capture the uniqueness of the land and beauty surrounding the lodge. I think it would be helpful for readers to understand some of the basics of the lodge by going into detail in the question that asks to "describe detail of success." For example how many people does the lodge hold? what types of visitors are most common? How has the number of visitors increased since you opened? I think that may help some readers better imagine how your lodge has gained popularity and where lies the greatest room for improvement.
I thought your entry was interesting. The organization provides the tourists with so many different kinds of activities and caring services. This will definitely attract more visitors to come. Furthermore, your entry has sufficient amount of information. I love the idea that the services the organization offers are in eco-friendly way. However, how do you guys plan to accomplish that? Because I think it will take a lot of manpower, resource, and money to make it happen. Moreover, I also went to your website. I feel your website could have been designed better. You can google some website design software which will help you make your website more dynamic, interesting, and interactive. As a result, you will have more visitors to go to your website. Eventually, I really enjoyed reading your entry. Good luck and keeping up the good work!
Your entry about Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia stood out to me as an inspirational story of how personal interests can be combined with a motivation to enhance the geotourism values of a destination to make a difference. I thought it was interesting how you used your knowledge as farmers and restaurateurs and your fascination with food and ingredients to create a tourism destination in a location that allowed you to enhance these interests. Your entry provides a thorough description of the Trout Point Lodge and how it is innovative in the tourism industry.
In your description of quantitative success the business has experienced, you mention how you have increased your primary season by over a month and diversified your visitation. What is the exact primary visiting season for Nova Scotia? To what extent does the change in visitor numbers affect your business? Marketing the specific benefits of visiting Nova Scotia during the low seasons and perhaps offering special incentive deals for guests may help with increasing the number of guests during these times to even out visitor numbers. You identify the seasonality of Nova Scotia tourism as a limiting factor in The Lodge’s sustainability. Is this related to your employee retention problems? Including more information about the effect these problems have on the potential demand for The Lodge would increase the reader’s understanding of your additional efforts to keep the business sustainable. Do your plans to expand your approach include building more eco-lodges in other destinations, either in Nova Scotia or other parts of the world? Your sustainable approach to tourism in Nova Scotia seems like a great example of sustainable tourism and would perhaps be appealing to travelers in other destinations as well.
Since Troutpoint has been functioning for over ten years, it is blatant that there is an interest amongst travelers for sustainable tourism in Nova Scotia. However, this entry in no way explains why there has been such a significant interest. In addition, it lacks details about what exactly Troutpoint has to offer. Instead, the tour just offers the same generalized response. While many other entries offer a sense of enthusiasm and passion in their writing, this reads as disengaging and uninteresting to the consumer.
You mention in your entry how to overcome a local perception of a lack of activities. It may be interesting to view how many of your guests are from local areas. If it appears that there is a lack of local interest, it may help to provide to special deal for local guests in order to give them an incentive and draw interest. This is turn can extend local support that may arouse interest in the Tobeatic Wilderness Areas.
In addition, it appears from viewing your website that you are not fully utilizing a main stream of communication with a mass audience: the Internet. The website appears to be out of date and for those looking for a sustainable lodging facility, it does not advertise Troutpoint in the best light. I also feel that the entry and Troutpoint on a whole would benefit from an additional photo or possible video that truly demonstrates the majestic beauty of the lodge and surrounding area.
Thanks to everyone for the informative and thoughtful comments. In essence, I take away several themes and points:
1. Our web site needs work
2. More quantitative information is needed on our operations and successes
3. Relatedly, more information is needed on how ten years of experience with our operation can be a transferable model for others
4. The writing style of the entry is boring
First, our web site is home-made and always has been. It is simple, however as our No. 1 marketing vehicle it's simplicity has been very effective. We have top 10 ranking with major search engines and directories for multiple travel-related queries, and even today more than 70% of guests find us via the web. We have always viewed the Internet as a sustainable, low-input, and low-impact marketing solution and are happy with our site.
Second, we will be adding more detailed information on operations, numerical changes over the last decade, and successes later today.
Third, we will work on the entry--within the space requirements--to suggest more of a case study. We also operate an eco-friendly inn in Costa Rica, and have lots of experience to share.
Fourth, in an effort to be as precise and detailed as possible, the style of the entry may be somewhat academic, however most readers seem to glean at least some useful information from it.
I think that re-creating a wilderness destination in Nova Scotia in order to boost the tourism crisis and economy is a great idea. I think that the project is not only unique but also the origins of the innovators themselves. Going from traditional career paths of lawyers and professors to organic farmers, cheesemakers, and sustainable agriculture investigators is very unique and interesting. Perhaps if the owners of the company marketed that as a part of their advertising they would be able to get more attention and visitors. However, I still think that they must deal with the constant issue of advertising that location as a desirable place to go.
FElicitaciones desde Uruguay,norte del pais , y el deseo de feliz desarrollo del proyecto!!
We had such a great time at TroutPoint for our honeymoon last year! The food was excellent, the staff was more than pleasant and the scenary was gorgeous! You were so accomidating and made us feeel at home! The owners were so nice and the resident dog Josh was very friendly as well! We even bought the TroutPoint cookbook since we loved the food so much! Thank you again and we look forward to coming back soon to stay!
Allan & Sarah broskowitz
Having been to the Lodge I would have to say that I agree with other posts that say the website needs updating. A cleaner, more up-to-date style doesn't have to take away from the home-made feel. A large gallery of pictures on the site and local amenities would be a bonus. I don't want this comment to take away from the wonderful experience of the lodge itself. Great job and good luck...
On July 1, 2009 the judges reviewed the entries for the Changemakers “Geotourism Challenge 2009: Power of Place Sustaining the Future of Destinations” competition and would like to pass on the following feedback (listed below) for your entry. Thank you for applying and for your hard work in the field. We are excited to archive your entry to serve as a leading solution for the worldwide community of innovators. If possible, please take the time to respond to some of the provocative questions and issues that were raised by the judges. We wish you continued luck with your innovative, sustainable, and socially impactful initiatives.
All the best, The Changemakers Team.
“When we started talking about geotourism at its essence, we discovered that it begins locally, making change happen place by place. The very essence of this competition is taking a community and creating a sustainable geotourism destination. It makes a huge difference on a local level but I would like to watch this project define it’s scalability as an innovative project to be replicated throughout the world.
“As far as I can see there is great benefit to the environment and the tourist, but I would like to see more about the local social impact. I would like for this project to look inside their foundation and demonstrate and answer to the question, what really gives this project the level of social impact beyond some of the other ecotourism locations?”
“This is a committed and unique venture and I loved the idea of cooking lessons to get the tourists more involved. I also liked the idea that these are professionals who discover treasure in wilderness and protect that space. Sometime you have to think that these places are way out there that those few venturing out there and able to take us there to see what is actually going out there. This particular place, there is a particular reality. With a strong success story to date, this project is well organized and therefore convincingly sustainable.”
- Changemakers “Geotourism Challenge 2009: Power of Place Sustaining the Future of Destinations” Judges: National Geographic Society, United Nations Foundation, Tribe Wanted, The Green Belt Movement, Lonely Planet, Southwest
I cannot imagine anything more appealing then the beauty, comfort and excitement of this lodge combined with the ability to express one's passion for culinary delights with organic foods!
We want to thank the judges very much for their comments and confidence. With regards to the question about social impact:
The most obvious answer is that we have an impact on our guests, through guided or unguided nature experiences, cooking lessons, and giving them a chance to experience the unqiue environment the Lodge inhabits.
Beyond this, as a small business, Trout Point both acts as a prominent model (see below) and does whatever possible to have direct social impact beyond our property boundaries. Given Trout Point's location within the core area of the Southern Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve and the province's most densely francophone municipality, there are two or three definable communities that we interact with and try to affect on a day to day basis (beyond our guests): 1. The Acadian community 2. the local, Kemptville/Yarmouth County community 3. those concerned with and active within the management of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area and the Biosphere.
First, we take our environmental committments seriously and have implemented strategies—both in building and operations—to reduce consumption and minimize or elminate negative environmental impacts. As a 5 Green Key property, we are a model for other projects in the way that we operate and seek to improve operations. Our guests have unique experiences, learn about some alternative ways of living, cooking, or travelling, and learn to appreciate the Acadian Forest ecosystem, with its scrubby pines, spruce trees, diverse lichens, Indian Pipes, Lady Slipper orchids, and peat-stained rivers. We have been held up as a model enterprise by the Hotel Association of Canada, by tourism strategy reports prepared by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, and increasingly in the media, like Greenopia.com and the Globe & Mail newspaper.
Our local employees and vendors benefit economically, with the number of local employees expanding every year and on-the-job training expanding their possiblities. For the minority Acadian French community, we publicly promote the importance of Acadian cultural heritage, we participate in events such as the International Acadian Festival of Par-en-bas, and make donations of time and resources; we help create links and communication between Louisiana Cajuns and local Acadians, and we serve these communities with products and resources. In terms of the local village of Kemptville, our primary impact is through a policy of hiring of locals and the creation of a destination—helping to invigorate a backwoods area in economic decline. These are areas where we can have a direct impact on society, with direct influence and weight.
With the broader social group of those concerned with the Biosphere & the wilderness, we seek out alliances, endeavor to move projects forward, and support the efforts of others whenever possible. First, it's important to realize that the Tobeatic Wilderness Area is the largest single protected area in Atlantic Canada but has virtually no touristic significance for tourism authorities. The Tobeatic lies at the pristince core of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which has existed since 2001. The entire Biosphere area covers an astounding 1,546,374 hectares, with core areas of 141,900 hectares. Trout Point has thus been a geographical pioneer at the “centre of things,” even though peripheral in terms of population centres and communities.
We host meetings, give donations, and work on implementing projects like the first managed trail system in the Wilderness Area. Groups involved have included the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, the Ecology Action Centre, the Sierra Club, Destination Southwest Nova Scotia, local politicians, and the local Yarmouth & Acadian Shores tourism authorities. Here we seek to have input into policy decisions and to work cooperatively towards common goals for public good, like the trails project. Notably, just as the Geotourism finalists were announced in July, the local Biosphere Reserve Association—inactive for many years-- announced new federal funding, and has invited Trout Point to have more input into a sustanable tourism strategy for the Biosphere, including a likely seat on the Board of Directors.
Thus our social impact is on 2 or 3 levels, and we endeavor to operate on all these levels in some meaningful way that goes beyond many other small enterprises.
In looking at our track record over the past 10 years, we came up with the following list of 10 ways in which the Trout Point project may be replicable & scalable for others, in particular with regards to any effort to create, define, and market a geotourism destinationay. We plan to post 2 scalable and replicable ideas/lessons each day over the next 5 days. These concepts could be applicable to one small tourism start-up (like ourselves) or to a destination tourism plan for an entire community or region:
1.take a broad—man-and-biosphere and/or geotourism—look at your locale and identify resources; often locals will not see what you see—don't be afraid of having a differing perspective. For example, after researching the area, we found that Yarmouth County, including particularly our most local area at the core of what is now the Biosphere, had a substantial history of backwoods & nature tourism from the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries—not just hunting and fishing, but also escaping to and relaxing in nature. Coming from Louisiana, we also saw the Acadian French culture of the region as possessing huge, positive tourism potential. Finally, we saw the world-class local food resources—seafood, wild foods, local farmers—as underappreciated and underutilized. In the local area in the late 1990s, the Yarmouth tourism community depended on cruise ship/ferry traffic and was content being somewhat less than a destination, a “gateway” to the rest of the province. These local histories and resources went unclaimed and unutilized in terms of geotourism. We started Trout Point before the legislature declared the Wilderness Area, before the Biosphere Reserve's existence, before the culinary tourism trend began, and a decade before the “Yarmouth & Acadian Shores” region came into being.
2.specifically examine the natural & cultural identity of a place and look for obvious connections with tourism, past or present—go beyond the local stereotypes, current trends, or official tourism strategies. For example, the fact that Yarmouth had once been a major, upscale nature tourism destination had been forgotten, as had the touristic importance of the backwoods. To use the French term, its once-alluring “terroir” was still there, but had become obscured by decades of motels, color Tvs, and gift shops. The previous tradition gave us clues and guideposts as to what was possible, and also provided a heritage to hark back to. While tourism officials touted the end-all and be-all importance of the seacoast, and proclaimed Yarmouth as unsuitable to affluent travelers, we saw something different in part because of our historical knowledge. The world of woods and rivers had just as much, if not more potential to draw tourists as the coastal areas—it's unique virtues for hiking, kayaking, swimming, trecking, wildcrafting foods, and exploring had once been appreaciated but had fallen from memory.
3 in marketing, seek a “hook”—something to make your project special or unique and work hard at perfecting and promoting it & making it sustainable. Though we had run a restaurant and loved food, we had never before cooked for large numbers, let alone offered cooking classes. However, relying on our Louisiana heritage, we knew the importance of food and the growing public interest in learning about food origins, tecniques, and cooking styles. Trout Point's Food Learning Vacations commenced the day the Lodge opened in July, 2000, and have grown more succesful every year. More than any other factor in our early years of operation, the uniqueness of the cooking vacations garnered the Lodge attention & publicity. We worked hard on perfecting our offerings, and increasingly included field trips to local food destinations as part of the experience. Through visits to Nolan D'Eon's Eel Lake Oyster Farm (http://ruisseauoysters.com/), for example, participants not only learn about sustainable shellfish production, but also gain insight in the Acadian French community of which Nolan and the Ruisseau Oyster form part. The cooking programs drew positive press, and without this unique offering, for the travel media Trout Point may have been just another lodge somewhere in Canada.
4.Be an antidote to the commerical world; reduce to every degree possible cookie-cutter inputs, and instead utilize local resources, styles, & customs—usually at a lower cost. For example, at Trout Point we sourced major aestehtic and structural elements of the building as locally as possible, including white spruce logs, tan & red sandstone, and blue granite. Local Acadian craftsmen were hired as builders. When it came time to furnish the Lodge, we did not go to the local Simmons hotel furniture salesman. Instead, we sought out a boat-builder turned cabinet-maker named Vernon Cottreau, and asked him to build our furniture from trees, branches, and twigs cut from the Trout Point property—something he had never done before. Though seeking to provide a high level of comfort and space in the Lodge, we avoided televisions, air conditioning, and telephones. We used locally milled hemlock instead of fine, non-local birch or oak for flooring. All of these choices helped us to create a unique property, and in many cases to save on start-up costs at the same time.
5. make a virtue out of those inputs—for you and your guest/clients. Remember to celebrate your geo-touristic uniqueness and create virtues out of that which is local and distinct. In addition to decoration and construction mentioned above, use of local resources extends to foodstuffs and cuisine. Trout Point celebrates the local seafood catch, and designs fixed menus around what is fresh and available. Monkfish, considered a lowly catch by local fisherman, is an esteemed delicay in Europe and Trout Point guests love knowing their meal was prepared from scratch using local ingredients. The fact that the Lodge is remote, blends seemlessly into its environment, has no cell phone reception, and no televisions becomes a huge plus for those seeking to relax and forget about the cares of the outside world. Another small example: this year we began to use locally gathered or grown plants, ferns, flowers, etc. to form rustic bouquets that replace the expensive European chocolates we used to use for turn-down service in the Lodge, leaving a little sample of local beauty on the pillow each night.
6. seek out innovators in the local community and form alliances with those willing to take a chance on something less than customary; use their resources as vendors or supporters. Consider the example of cabinet maker Vernon Cottreau, above, or Nolan D'Eon, “The Oyster Man.” The idea of making furniture from twigs or taking tourists out on a working oyster boat seemed a bit ludicrous at first, but both gentleman remained open to our suggestions and requests, and ultiamtely everyone benefitted from additional commerce and promotion. Vernon received furniture orders from far and wide, and Nolan's Ruisseau Oyster is now building a name for itself across Canada, last year winning a quality award from Taste of Nova Scotia. Another example: Arygle Municipality tourism officer Brenda La Grandeur has done more to assist Trout Point since starting her job 2 years ago than had been done by any civic official in the previous eight years. We called her on her first day a work, invited her for a visit, and frequently seek her input or involvement. She is a great asset.
1.Use a core-periphery approach to problems, purchasing, hiring, and promotion—be informed. One fundamental assumption of any small enterprise like Trout Point that become a destination is that the project express a sense of place based on the core locality, but that this core exists within a situation where peripheral areas inform the enterprise. Any tourism project speaks of travel, distance, familiarity and strangeness. Therefore sustainable and appropriate solutions must involve more than just the local, but the question is how and to what degree. To put it in the language of this competition, there is not just the place, there must also be the power of the place. At Trout Point, the owner-managers are not local, but this lent critical perspective to the project. Tourists are by definition not local, but come from varying levels of periphery—the province, the Maritimes, Canada, the U.S., the U.K, Europe, Austral-Asia. The core nourishes and defines sense of place, but the periphery also makes demands. When Trout Point hires non-locals it's usually because they have a specialty not available locally, but they will then bring enhanced knowledge to our local staff and guests. We have found that core staff simply must come from the core local area. In marketing and promotion, pay attention to all levels: local, regional, national, and international. Each place or market will have special demands or interests in what is local, a project's unique offering that speaks of place. For many Europeans, Trout Point offers the quintessential Canadian experience—the backwoods, real & rustic. For Nova Scotians, the draw may be the cuisine, with familiar ingredients prepared in new ways informed by Acadian, Louisiana or European style. For Americans, it may be the idea of a romantic escape in an exotic, but not so distant or unfamiliar world. New experiences combined with comfort is important to all. In marketing you perhaps have no desire to reach all levels of the periphery surrounding you, but knowledge of where your core destination experience fits within the rest of the world is important. You must make informed purchasing decisions based on the experience offered; local is not always good, the best, or even possible. We confront challenges with regards to purchasing every day in terms of food & wine, machinery, soaps, linens, decorations, which repair person to hire, etc. As destination, knowing your place in the world—in terms of hierarchies and peripheries-- will help to decide which elements of the guest/tourism experience matter in terms of geotourism values.
8.take established sustainable tourism practices as givens, not innovations—don't think about them too much, they are now standard practice Geotourism is about going beyond eco-tourism, but basic eco-friendly practices still remain vital. In advancing beyond mere eco-friendliness or minimizing negative impacts, we have to regard appropriate solutions as the common denominator of getourism, not its innovative side—Trout Point is not innovative because it uses 100% recycled paper products, low-energy lighting, or bulk amenities dispensers, but that does not mean that these practices can be forgotton or that constant improvement should no be sought after.
9.people first—but it's your environment Employees & guest/clients must have priority within any sustainable tourism enterprise, though always within the particular geotourism context. To be unique and have some “power of place,” a project cannot cater to all tastes and desires. This can be a hard lesson to learn when you're in a service industry like tourism. That is why first defining and then marketing and getting out a clear message of exactly what you offer is so important. It's also important to educate employees to think about and use local resources—seafood from the nearby coast, vegetables from the garden, and wild foods from the surrounding forest, not Irish beef or Russian caviar.
10.remember, your project is at the centre of the universe Guests at Trout Point frequenlty comment on how isolated the Lodge is. We always reply, that actually Trout Point's at the centre of the universe; that is true power of place.
God bless you
It's my pleasure to contact you for a business venture which I intend to establish in your country, though I have not met with you before but I believe one has to risk, confiding in someone to succeed sometimes in life.
There is this huge amount of money United State Dollars (USD$8.000, 000.00) which I inherit from my late husband is deposited in a Security company here in Cote D Ivoire before he was assassinated by unknown persons.
Now I decided to invest this money in your country or anywhere safe enough outside Africa for security purposes. I want you to help me to transfer this fund into your country for investment purposes.
If you can be of assistance to me I will be pleased to offer you 20% of the total fund.
Thank you and God bless you
Susan slvanus my email, firstname.lastname@example.org