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12

Fully implement the Harbour Islands Visitor Experience Strategy (Georges and McNabs Islands)

A strength of the Halifax region is the proximity of island experiences that appeal to residents and visitors, as long as these experiences also prioritize the protection of our culture, heritage and natural environment.

Current Stage

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    Discovery & Scoping
    To advance to the next stage, the project concept must be developed.

Next Stage

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    First-term priority

Sub-Projects

  • Georges Island

    CURRENT STAGE: Benefits Realized

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  • McNabs Island

    CURRENT STAGE: Discovery & Scoping

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Background

As part of the ITMP research, residents were asked what the greatest opportunity was for tourism in the Halifax region over the next few years. Many noted the importance of ecotourism and outdoor, nature-based experiences as well as increased accessibility to hiking trails and islands. As one respondent wrote: “We are blessed with these natural amenities and I think we could draw a different set of tourists.”

Research provided by Tourism Nova Scotia for Halifax’s first ITMP showed that one-third of visitors came to Nova Scotia for “outdoor experiences” such as coastal sightseeing and beaches. A dedicated research panel also showed that some of the highest-rated experiences include “your own island adventure” and “Wild Islands Adventure”.

In 2020, we saw that island experiences appeal to locals as well as visitors. In 2020, Parks Canada initiated regular public access to Georges Island and the response was very positive. Most tickets and tours sold out. Guests were able to experience the island for the first time and learn about Halifax heritage and Mi’kmaw culture. Prioritizing the full implementation of the Harbour Islands Visitor Experience Strategy, a $1.5 million investment under Tourism Nova Scotia’s Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program (TRIP), shows great potential for building on Halifax’s strengths. In addition to opening up Georges, the strategy calls for experience development, facility upgrades and improved access to McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park (hiking trails, interpretation, Maughers Beach, washroom facilities, etc.).

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