The Atlantic Canada UNESCO Tourism Corridor represents a significant step in enhancing the tourism landscape of Atlantic Canada. This initiative, part of Destination Canada’s Tourism Corridor Strategy Program, is focused on developing tourism corridors or clusters of tourism assets across Canada. The program aims not only to enhance the visitor experience but also to contribute to the economic and cultural prosperity of the regions involved.
Overview of the Atlantic Canada UNESCO Tourism Corridor
The corridor includes over a dozen UNESCO-designated sites across three Atlantic provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These sites form a network of unique landscapes, rich cultural history, and diverse offerings. The initiative focuses on several key areas:
- Development of Shoulder- and Off-Season Offers: The corridor aims to extend the tourism season beyond the traditional summer months, thereby providing opportunities for increased and more evenly distributed tourism throughout the year.
- Redistribution and Dispersal of Summer Travellers: By creating more attractions and services in the shoulder and off-seasons, the initiative seeks to manage and redistribute the flow of tourists, thus alleviating the pressure on sites during peak seasons.
- Attracting High-Value Guests: The corridor seeks to attract tourists who contribute significantly to the local economy while aligning with community values and ecological sustainability.
The Atlantic Canada UNESCO Tourism Corridor includes over a dozen UNESCO sites, such as:
- Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve
- Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark
- Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark
- Fundy Biosphere Region
- Gros Morne National Park
- Joggins Fossil Cliffs World Heritage Site
- L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site
- Landscape of Grand Pré World Heritage Site
- Mistaken Point World Heritage Site
- Old Town Lunenburg World Heritage Site
- Red Bay Basque Whaling Station World Heritage Site
- Southwest Nova Biosphere Region
- Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark
These sites form a network of unique landscapes and rich cultural history. The corridor strategy is based on regenerative tourism principles, aiming to generate wealth and well-being for the region. Key objectives include collaboration across jurisdictions for planning and investment, building a consistent visitor experience supported by local and rural communities, and supporting multi-day trip planning featuring UNESCO sites.
Economic and Social Impact
The corridor strategy is based on principles of regenerative tourism, which focuses on generating wealth and wellbeing for the region. This approach is aligned with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and UNESCO priorities. The project involves multiple stages of engagement with corridor partners, stakeholders, and community members, ensuring that a wide range of perspectives and needs are considered. The strategy also includes plans for collaboration across jurisdictions, building a consistent visitor experience, and supporting multi-day trip planning that features UNESCO sites.
Indigenous organizations and communities are actively engaged in the project. This includes the Newfoundland and Labrador Indigenous Tourism Association, Indigenous Tourism Association of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network, Mi’kmaq Nation, and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. Their involvement ensures that Indigenous perspectives and cultural expressions are incorporated into the corridor’s development.
Project Timeline and Governance
The project, which began in June 2023, is scheduled to conclude by the end of December 2023. It involves the creation of a corridor strategy, an implementation plan, and a financial plan. These deliverables are being co-created with the involvement of various experts in strategic corridor development, Indigenous engagement, regenerative tourism, international markets, and financial analysis.
The Atlantic Canada UNESCO Tourism Corridor project is a comprehensive effort to not only boost tourism but also to foster sustainable and regenerative growth in the region. By connecting a series of important cultural and natural sites and focusing on sustainable tourism practices, this initiative is set to enhance the tourism experience in Atlantic Canada and contribute to the long-term prosperity of its communities.
For residents of Atlantic Canada, this initiative offers both economic opportunities and a chance to showcase the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region to a global audience. The project’s focus on sustainable and regenerative tourism practices ensures that development is in harmony with the region’s ecological and cultural values.
The development and success of the Atlantic Canada UNESCO Tourism Corridor will likely serve as a model for other regions looking to balance tourism growth with sustainability and community engagement.