CORNER BROOK — The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is working on putting together a tourism plan that will enable it to pursue opportunities in the cultural tourism market.
But before that the band needs a tourism policy to guide in the formation of that plan.
Ralph Eldridge, is the community economic development manager for Work Force Qalipu.
He said the band held three consultation sessions this week with the public and stakeholders to help in the development of that policy and to identify the challenges and the opportunities that exist in the tourism sector.
Meetings were held in Grand Falls-Windsor on Monday, Stephenville on Tuesday and Corner Brook on Wednesday. About 12 to 15 people attended each of the sessions.
“Newfoundland already has a strong tourism market and that’s through the efforts of the provincial Department of Tourism over the last 10 or 12 years and they’ve developed a very strong brand,” said Eldridge.
He said the band feels it can add a unique element to that already strong tourism product that’s in place.
“By building on what we determine to be an experiential or cultural tourism market,” said Eldridge.
“We have an increasing self-awareness of our own identity, the Mi’kmaq people, with the creation of the band so we’re looking for a way to express that through a unique tourism marketing approach.”
Once the tourism policy is in place the band will identify what elements are needed in developing a sector plan and what sort of organization it’ll need to develop that sector plan.