PICTOU – It’s quiet and deserted around the VIC at the Pictou Rotary.
Now local tourism officials are scrambling to compensate for the province’s decision not to reopen its visitor information centre in Pictou this season.
Cindy MacKinnon, managing director for Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores (DEANS), said the Pictou VIC closure will impact tourism in Pictou County and elsewhere.
She was responding to a joint press release on Friday from the Department of Natural Resources and the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency regarding changes that the release said will cut costs and duplication and protect services considered the most important for the province to fund.
“Caribou is a significant entry point,” MacKinnon said. “It will have an impact on people entering the province. It will impact Pictou and Pictou County, and potentially Antigonish.”
The closest VICs are the seasonal ones DEANS operates at Exit 21 on Highway 104 and in River John, MacKinnon said.
While visitors are gathering tourism information on line, it’s not a substitute for accessing centres, she said.
“You can’t beat face-to-face counselling,” she said.
MacKinnon said one option for DEANS will be to staff ferry crossings, especially during peak times, to make up for the Pictou VIC’s closure.
“It’s a captive audience,” she said. “We’ll try to make it a less drastic loss as possible for 2015.” Pictou’s VIC is one of two that will not reopen. The other is in Digby.
The closures were justified by their proximity to locally run centres.
Besides the VIC closures, the province plans to turn seven of the 20 provincial parks in to self-service operations. None of the parks subject to self-service is in Pictou County.
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