The old saying – necessity is the mother of invention – can be applied to Quebec’s rural and remote regions that strive to thrive. Spanning 14 fishing communities, the 5,000 residents of Quebec’s Lower North Shore, 90% of whom are English speakers, face seasonal unemployment rates ranging from 30-80 percent. Lack of work at home leads many to seek work in other provinces. To address these challenges, CEDEC’s long-term strategy relies on bringing people together to inspire and create joint entrepreneurial initiatives.
Through the years of listening and learning, CEDEC’s role of facilitating community dialogue and lending expertise resulted in the launch of an entrepreneurial network for tourism development including businesses such as B&Bs, restaurants, taxi boat services, adventure tourism and fishing camps.
CEDEC laid the foundation for this network with a focus on management capacity building and knowledge sharing among its members. CEDEC has also invited participation from new partners such as Cooperative for a Sustainable Tourism Environment (COSTE) and eight local tourism associations.
In 2011, the network of tourism businesses will develop a branding and marketing strategy to capitalize on the Lower North Shore’s rugged, isolated beauty. With Newfoundland’s dynamic tourism network just a two-hour ferry ride away, they are setting their sights on more strategic partnerships.
“We’re one of the first sites where Europeans settled in North America,” says Dwight Bilodeau, President of the Old Fort Bay Historical Society. “We have such a wealth of historical riches here. We’re so ready for tourism development; we just need to plan and engage the right partners to make it happen.”