Greg Weeks

East meets west on the water

Maritime tourism pros got a kayak tour of the Alberni Inlet last week, courtesy of Batstar Adventure Tour’s Blake Johnson

A troupe of tourism professionals from Atlantic Canada trekked to Vancouver Island last week on a “best practices” mission to learn travel tips from West Coast gurus.

The group, whose members are all individually involved in the tourism industry in the Maritimes, travelled to Vancouver Island on a five-day expedition to learn how tourism companies operate on the West Coast.

The gang spent two nights in Parksville and two nights in Tofino prior to heading to Port Alberni for an afternoon of kayaking on the Alberni Harbour.

Blake Johnson, owner of Batstar Adventure Tours in Port Alberni, guided the visitors around the Alberni Canal on his kayaks while explaining historic facts about the Alberni Valley and answering questions regarding tourism on the West Coast and his business practices.

“You’re always learning something in this trade,” said Rick Stanley, owner of Ocean Quest Adventures in Newfoundland.

The trip was a first for Stanley and his wife Debbie. Stanley said was learning a lot from his trip about quality assurance, risk management and how to deliver a promise and interact with guests.

“I’ll be back,” he added.

Merideth Caissie, tourism manager with the City of Bathurst, New Brunswick, said the trip was a fantastic way to develop a network, get out and see how things are done in different municipalities and learn from their experiences to apply to their own businesses.

“It’s unifying how similar the natural resources and lifestyles are from the East to the West,” she said.

Once arrived back in his hometown of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Greg Weeks, owner of P.E.I Segway Tours, said he will give a presentation to fellow tourism professionals on his learnings from the West Coast.

“A rising tide floats all boats,” Weeks said to explain how when one tourism business strives, many more operations within the tourism umbrella will also benefit.

The mission was managed by the Tourism Cafe, a Vancouver Island based tourism consultancy business led by Lesley Anderson, learning and development facilitator from Nanaimo.


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