The Wild Islands Tourism Advancement Partnership (WITAP) is a community based committee formed in 2016 which aims to build upon the success of the 100 Wild Islands campaign by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and is looking to position the area from Musquodoboit Harbour to Sherbrooke as a one-of-a-kind sustainable tourism destination that is recognized internationally. If you’re unfamiliar with the 100 Wild Islands this video will take you there.
WITAP recently completed an important step, by completing a “Master Development Plan”. This plan had four main components associated: site design concept, brand, interpretive approach, and visitor services strategy. These objectives have been explored in a way that works for the region and uses the landscape to inform decisions. Enticing visitors to explore the region, encouraging visitors to understand the regional landscape and biodiversity, and creating a destination that enhances the experience are all considered in the project objectives.
Regarding the brand and logo shown below that was created, the report states,
“[…] The islands off the coast offer unique landscapes of exposed linear rock formations, white sand beaches, and rich biodiversity that visitors only get a true sense of if they visit the islands by boat. The word “wild” describes the raw authenticity of the place appropriate to its market (see “2.5 Market implications for WITAP” on page 22). It promises an untapped, undiscovered experience which can be delivered by the Eastern Shore. Visitors cannot easily experience the islands themselves currently, but the brand is broad enough to encompass the potential visual experience, the views, and the spirit of the place. As with the landscape designs, the logo is inspired by the striated geomorphology of the islands, a distinct aesthetic of the coast.”
The following other projects have been completed by WITAP to date.
a) A comprehensive geographic-based database of all 750+ islands documenting their natural and cultural heritage
b) An on-site archaeological reconnaissance of many of the islands known to have been occupied
c) Workshops for local people and businesses interested in developing experiential tourism products.
d) An inventory of local visitor services identifying gaps, together with a strategy to eliminate these gaps
e) Establishing a WITAP website with all information available to the public
Whats next? WITAP is now in the process of acquiring funding to work on the following projects.
a) Installing entry-point welcome signs in Musquodoboit Harbour, Sheet Harbour and Sherbrooke
b) Creating up to ten island-views along the #7 highway so that the islands can be more easily seen
c) Building island-viewing kiosks with a telescope and interpretive panels at either end of the area
d) Documenting all existing marine-travel service facilities in the area to identify all service gaps
e) Holding multiple tourism experiential training workshops for local people and businesses
f) Conducting an archaeological review of a few islands that have evidence of very early occupation
g) Identifying three pilot- project private-sector partners to cost-share washrooms for public use
h) The development and implementation an Eastern Shore Tourist Guide smartphone mobile app