Parks Canada cuts affecting Cape Breton tourism
Visitor experience manager Lester Marchand says they’re doing what they can to maintain their 18th century feel at Fortress Louisbourg.
Published Thursday, October 18, 2012 6:47PM ADT
Visitors hoping to experience some of Cape Breton’s favourite tourist attractions are walking away disappointed.
After federal budget cuts to Parks Canada, there are fewer people working at tourism hot spots, such as Fortress Louisbourg and the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.
“These people are not getting their money’s worth and I’m not happy that they’re not getting they’re money’s worth,” says tour guide Irene MacInnis. “I want tourism operated correctly, or you may as well shut her down.”
Management at Fortress Louisbourg say they’re doing what they can to maintain their 18th century feel by making sure animators are on hand on the days tour buses visit.
“If it’s a cruise ship visitor, for example, it’s pre-arranged and we’re able to staff accordingly,” says visitor experience manager Lester Marchand. “So, it’s about matching visitors’ needs with our staffing.”
“I’ve been there on rainy days,” says MacInnis. “The dull days, it isn’t pleasant.”
MacInnis alleges that on other tours, the effects of the cuts are noticeable and worries tourism could suffer on the Island.
“They’re not able to go into all the buildings,” says MacInnis. “They might have one or two buildings open and they have animators dressed in costume or maybe a volunteer, if they’re lucky to get one.”
The Port of Sydney’s tour operator says, although they’re working with Parks Canada to make sure the Louisbourg experience remains the same, she’s still losing bookings.
Several cruise lines cancelled Louisbourg excursions this fall, assuming the Parks Canada cuts would hurt the experience.
Parks Canada says things should only get better, as staff get used to life after the budget cuts.
However, those depending on the Island’s multimillion dollar tourism industry will be keeping a close eye.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald