Spring is around the corner, with summer on the horizon. It may not feel like it, as you scrape ice off your windshield, but the season of gardens, beach jaunts and tourists will soon be upon us.
Government is doing its part to increase the tourist-appeal of Amherst and the county. Regardless of whether you supported the money spent to refurbish downtown, build the Joggins Fossil Centre or upgrade Fundy Geological Museum, the projects went ahead – the money’s spent – and these resources will improve the appeal of the area to travelers.
But before we look to elected officials, bureaucrats and public programs to generate more outsider interest, let’s do a bit of a gut check: Making sure visitors have a terrific experience in our community is in our own interests, and every one of us can do something to make that happen.
No one’s saying we need to falsely bolster our own self-esteem. We don’t have banner destinations like Peggy’s Cove or Lunenburg, Halifax or Louisbourg. But we do have superb beaches and the gorgeous Fundy coastline, exceptional wilderness areas and something no other part of the province can claim: first crack at newcomers.
As the province’s gatekeepers, we can cement the stereotype of Nova Scotians as friendly, good-natured, welcoming people, or we can dash that charming cliché completely. And it can come down to something as little as a kind word on the street, an offer of assistance, picking up a piece of litter, or planting an extra flower.
For example, let’s not use a misinformed statement by visiting Americans as an opportunity to lecture them on Canada’s superiority. On the contrary, when you see a license plate from south of the border, see it as an opportunity to say hello. That decision could mean the difference between a quick bathroom break or an afternoon stay – between five bucks spent on takeout coffee and $150 spent on souvenirs.
Northern Nova Scotia has much to recommend it. It doesn’t take tax dollars to get the word out. Just kind hearts and smiling faces.