Officials say loss of ferry will require shift in Shelburne tourism strategies

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Officials say loss of ferry will require shift in Shelburne tourism strategies

By Jessica Ilse

The Coast Guard

The loss of Yarmouth as a gateway for New England tourists will require a major shift in tourism strategies say Shelburne County officials

According to Discover Shelburne County President Alan Nelson, the area will need to focus on promoting itself as a tourist destination following the announcement that Bay Ferries will no longer provide the Cat ferry service

Nelson is hopeful the loss of the ferry service, responsible for bringing thousands of tourists from New England states, might not make a major impact on the Shelburne area, says Nelson. “There are still other ways to access [the area],” says Nelson.

Jeff Spencer, head of the tourism development committee in Shelburne County believes Yarmouth will be looking for other options to draw tourists. “The transportation strategy will [change],” says Spencer.

New US passport rules, a strong Canadian dollar, and the weak economy are the partly behind the ferry service closure.

As well, the provincial government, which had been supporting the Cat service, decided not to partner with Bay Ferries this year.

For now, Shelburne County needs to focus on and support tourism in the area to lessen the impact, says Nelson.

Nelson uses the example of tourists arriving in Yarmouth after travelling on the Cat, with plans to visit Lunenburg, not aware that Shelburne County even exists. “We need to work on getting our name out there,” says Nelson.

The area needs the “support of everybody and all five municipal units” to help promote the area, says Nelson.

With the elimination of both ferry and air services in Yarmouth, Spencer says road traffic will now be the main focus for transportation.

Before Friday’s announcement, The Cat service had been scheduled to resume in spring 2010.

Organizations: Bay Ferries, Coast Guard

Geographic location: Shelburne County, Yarmouth, New England Lunenburg

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