Positive Outlook for Tourism in Miramichi Region

Positive Outlook for Tourism in Miramichi Region

The Miramichi Region Tourism Association (MRTA) says the future of tourism in Miramichi looks bright.

“There is a lot of great news in the tourism industry coming out of the Miramichi region as a result of communities and operators forming partnerships and working together,” said Terry Matchett, MRTA president.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced on March 3rd that it would invest about $300,000 toward tourism projects in Miramichi through its Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF).

The plans include establishing a visitor kiosk and building a replica of Governor Denys’ trading post, which will demonstrate the trade between the Acadian and Aboriginal communities of the area in the early 1600s at Beaubears Island, a designated National Historic Site and National Shipbuilding Historic Site.

A replica that will house an interpretative museum will be erected over the foundation of an 18th century Presbyterian Church, built by the area’s first Scottish settlers at Wilson’s Point. The Scottish Heritage Association will also use the ACOA funding to redevelop a trail network, repair and refurbish headstones in the church cemetery, build a docking wharf and create a monument to commemorate William Davidson, the first Scottish settler on the Miramichi.

An announcement is expected soon on a six million dollar capital project to include an interpretative centre and walking trails for the Metepenagiag aboriginal community, the province’s oldest village.

The French Fort Cove project has nearly raised all of the money necessary in order to secure their own $1.2 million in funding through ACOA’s SCIF program.

“Everyone is working together to promote our multiculturalism, diverse history, festivals and so on,” Matchett said.

A trio of young entrepreneurs called The Wee Ones recently received a Tourism Achievement Award from the MRTA celebrating their dedication to promoting the many cultures that define Miramichi and the positive image of the area they have fostered.

“Many of our attractions and festivals are also reporting phenomenal growth,” Matchett added.

Seventy-one motorcoach groups have already confirmed bookings for the Miramichi Kitchen Party excursion hosted by Paul McGraw at Saltwater Sounds. That’s up from only eight in 2003.

Annual attractions like Canada’s Irish Festival and Rock ‘n Roll Festival have already sold-out some of their most popular events and are now investigating the best ways to accommodate the overflow of visitors, including having multiple venues running simultaneous events.

The winter tourism season has also been positive. This year’s White Gold Festival was a tremendous success and lodges along the river that offer winter sports and adventures, like O’Donnell’s Cottages, have been busy all season entertaining guests.

“The future looks bright for the tourism sector in the Miramichi,” Matchett said. “The many years and countless hours put in by the thousands of volunteers is finally paying off. Persistence and our ability to work together throughout the river valley to achieve our common goal is of utmost importance if we are to continue this momentum.”