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Yaffle your next project

By Amy Tucker
Special to the Gazette

Yaffle.ca is Memorial's online connecting tool. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one . . .

The opportunity:
Sometimes, location really is everything. With France at their doorstep, the Burin Peninsula sees great potential in marketing their unique relationship and proximity to the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon as a potential tourism attraction.

As it is, the Burin Peninsula attracts anywhere between 12,000-18,000 visitors a year. Trevor Bungay, an economic development officer with the provincial Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development (IBRD), would like to see that number grow.

"The province does a great job of promoting whales, birds, ice bergs, outports and Newfoundland and Labrador culture and heritage. Some of those elements exist in all parts of the province, while other areas have unique experiences such as the Viking settlement on the Northern Peninsula, or puffins and sea birds at Cape St. Mary's. But on the Burin, the proximity to France is certainly unique."

With the majority of the St. Pierre and Miquelon visitors travelling through Newfoundland and Labrador on their way to the islands, the Burin Peninsula is well positioned to capture some of those tourist dollars. After all, the town of Fortune is only a short ferry ride away from the islands.

The region is already collaborating with La Phare, St. Pierre and Miquelon's tourism association, and is cross-promoting the islands in their promotional literature. However, those promotional efforts are strictly local since the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation does not promote St. Pierre and Miquelon as a destination.

"Many visitors only learn of St. Pierre and Miquelon once they arrive. Perhaps if they were better informed they might plan on a longer trip," said Mr. Bungay. "But if St. Pierre and Miquelon was promoted and marketed, more visitors would travel the Burin in order to go there, and potentially more money could be earned by local businesses and community groups during the short tourism season."

The project:
The regional economic development and tourism workers would like to know what the current value of the tourism industry is to the Burin Peninsula, given the limited amount of promotion of St. Pierre and Miquelon to Newfoundland and Labrador tourists and travellers.

If increased marketing and awareness of St. Pierre and Miquelon was undertaken, it could lead to increases in the number of tourists on the Burin and stronger partnerships between St. Pierre and Miquelon, the Burin Peninsula and Newfoundland and Labrador businesses. Mr. Bungay would also welcome the potential increase in the amount of funding requests for assistance from the business and community groups that operate within the tourism sector.

Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at bfurst@mun.ca.

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