The highest potential travel customers are characterized as the classic touring vacationer of Atlantic Canada who by far represent the largest volume of visitors to the region, including, of course, Nova Scotia. The classic touring vacationer can be considered as visitors in the mainstream (not fixated on one particular niche (e.g. birding, surfing, genealogy) who are travelling via rubber tire (e.g. private automobile, escorted motor coach, private touring vehicles). The Musquodoboit Harbour-Sherbrooke destination area has never truly enjoyed the benefit of volumes of classic touring vacationers at levels experienced historically by destination areas such as the City of Halifax, the South Shore, the Annapolis Valley, the Bay of Fundy region and the Cabot Trail. Source: iImagine/Harvey Sawler according to historical visitor travel patterns provided by Nova Scotia Tourism.
The classic touring vacationer, in one form or another, exemplified here through the following attributes (combined with their points of origin – all figures provided by Tourism Nova Scotia’s 2010 Visitor Exit Survey):Note: * Several of the destination area’s most popular beaches are situated in park jurisdictions. Travel Motivators/Traveler Segments
The Musquodoboit Harbour-Sherbrooke STEP Strategic Plan was originally formulated based on Nova Scotia’s established and publicized targeted Highest Value Visitor Segments which pointed to particular emphasis on the ‘outdoor enthusiast’ as one of the four top segment contenders, which included:
- Cultural Enthusiasts (http://tourismns.ca/sites/default/files/page_documents/cultural_enthusiasts.pdf)
- Culinary Enthusiasts (http://tourismns.ca/sites/default/files/page_documents/culinary_enthusiasts.pdf)
- Outdoor Enthusiasts (http://tourismns.ca/sites/default/files/page_documents/outdoor_enthusiasts.pdf)
- Big Spenders (http://tourismns.ca/sites/default/files/page_documents/big_spenders.pdf)
Outdoor Experiences/Outdoor Enthusiasts
This direction was further supported by the strong evidence that visitors seeking outdoor experiences already have or are likely to have an interest in the existing and potential products and experiences of the destination area. This evidence is illustrated through the following statistics from Tourism Nova Scotia’s 2010 Visitor Exit Survey:
- 39% of visitors to all of NS enjoyed outdoor activities versus 63% for the destination area.
- Outdoor enthusiasts are defined as pleasure visitors who are highly motivated by outdoor experiences and are engaged in outdoor activities, including visitors who participated in at least 3 outdoor activities, and ranked natural landscapes and wildlife at least an 8 out of 10 in importance in their decision to visit Nova Scotia. However there are nuances to be addressed in understanding the outdoor enthusiast within the context of the Musquodoboit Harbour-Sherbrooke STEP strategy. For example, the beach explorer who participates in a half-day guided kayak tour and enjoys talking to a local fisher when buying lobster off the wharf is a candidate as an outdoor enthusiast for the current experiential offering for the destination area; however there exists the opportunity, linked to the dramatic natural attributes of the area and the potential for greater entrepreneurial leadership to create exciting and enriching experiences which can compete and generate demand from more determined outdoor enthusiasts (e.g. elite marine excursions, nature and culinary experiences, island-visiting experiences, etc.).
- Outdoor Enthusiasts as described in Tourism Nova Scotia’s visitor profile are primarily comprised of:
– Couples (46%) and families (22%).
– Higher levels of education and higher incomes.
– Typically come from farther away.
– 14% of from the Atlantic Region
– One‐third of from Ontario (34%)
– 12% from Western Canada.
– 21% are American.
– 12% are from overseas.
- Outdoor Enthusiasts are environmentally oriented and are willing to pay premiums for sustainable products.
- Outdoor Enthusiasts have an average party spend of $1,960 compared to $1,280 for all pleasure visitors, making them one of the most prized segments in Nova Scotia’s tourism economy
The following table illustrates types of outdoor activities at participation rates in all of Nova Scotia versus within the Musquodoboit Harbour-Sherbrooke destination area.Source: 2010 Nova Scotia Visitor Exit Survey and Tourism Nova Scotia