Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Students Study Tourism in Yarmouth

The Business & Tourism department at MSVU is a community of people, experiences, opinions and voices. Our blog will reflect that community with the inclusion of guest bloggers who have stories to share of value to our community.
Today's guest blogger is Kylie Toner, a Senior in the Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management year BBA student. She currently works as a Guest Service Agent at the Delta Barrington. After graduation, she hopes to work in the cruise industry and has a passion for the wine industry.

Tourism Study in Yarmouth

Fourth year students fromMount Saint Vincent University went on a field trip the weekend of February 10thto meet with tourism sector employees in Yarmouth. The purpose of the trip wasto gather information on Yarmouth as a destination and to create ideas to helpYarmouth attract more tourists. The past few years have not been kind to thepeople of Yarmouth since the Ferry system to the United States stopped in 2009.The ferry system contributed enormously to the local economy by puttingcustomers on the doorstep of the businesses in Yarmouth. This major change hasmade it so that businesses in Yarmouth and surrounding areas will have topromote themselves.
The students met with a numberof movers and shakers such as Wayne Hamilton, Group sales for Yarmouth, DeniseNickerson, who manages the historic Cape Forchu Lightstation (http://www.capeforchulight.com/) and also wears another hat as General Manager of Yarmouth& Acadian Shores Tourism Association. The visit included a wonderfullobster dinner (of course) at Rudder’s on Friday night followed by the studentsattending an auction to raise funds for the Mariners Junior A Hockey Team. Avisit to the Mariners Center (http://www.mariners-centre.com/) really showed the students how important hockey is to the townof Yarmouth with over 400 children playing different levels of hockey. Yarmouth willbe hosting the World Junior A Hockey Challenge this November. 

Saturday morning thestudents were up early and ready to scope out the Yarmouth Farmer’s CommunityMarket. It was a perfect opportunity to see what kind of localproducts Yarmouth has to offer and also a chance for the students to furthertheir research by mingling with locals. A meeting with Ingrid Deon, marketmanager, gave the students some insight on the vendors as well as the customersof the farmers market. The students had a chance encounter with Mayor PhilMoody of Yarmouth, discussing the details of their upcoming presentation. Thefield trip came to an end with a memorable visit to the Cape Forchu Lighthousewith Denise Nickerson and a successful stop in at Frenchy’s for a few of thestudents.
The students were happy tobe so warmly received in Yarmouth by everyone. From the employees at the RoddGrand Hotel to citizens out walking their dogs, the town of Yarmouth has provedto be a kind hearted and hospitable place to visit and the student look forwardto their next visit!

This project on Yarmouth is part of a fourth year course THMT 4406 DestinationDevelopment and every year a community is approached to partner with thestudents. The course covers tourism development and how tourist destinationscan create facilities and services to meet the needs of tourists. This yearposes a significant situation due to the many challenges destinations such asYarmouth is facing with decreased tourists visitations. Challenges include thecurrent economic environment, increased gasoline prices, and the market forlobster has dropped dramatically, which is a mainstay in Yarmouth. In spite ofthe challenges, the students are confident they can give recommendations thatcan help Yarmouth as a destination.

The project includes a tourism audit on the inventory of tourism attractionsand services in the Yarmouth area. At the end of March the students will createsuggestions to increase visitations and business. The project culminates with awritten report that will be given to Yarmouth as well a presentation to be givenlive (online) via the use of Collaborate. Invitations will be sent out tostakeholders in the tourism industry including provincial and municipalrepresentatives. The exciting part of the presentation is that Mayor Moody ofYarmouth is threatening to attend!

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