Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Creating tourism experiences ... PEI-style

Sand sculpting is one of many Experience PEI adventures.When guests of the Briarcliffe Inn reach the end of the road overlooking the Northumberland Strait in beautiful Bedeque PEI, they not only hear nothing but quiet, they’ve found a perfect spot for a little solitude ... and maybe an adventure or two.

It’s all part of a new wave of experiential tourism that’s giving Atlantic operators a new edge in an
increasingly competitive tourism market.

First opened by Bill and Mary Kendrick in 2001, the Inn has more recently become a home-base for Experience PEI, a tourism business that features a series of excursions that offers guests many of the Island’s highlights, from ‘tonging’ oysters out of ocean beds and lobster fishing, to sandcastle making, sports adventures and historical tours.

All in all, the Kendricks have built up a series of over 25 different excursions for visitors to enjoy, in partnership with several local businesses, which also see added marketing and sales benefits when tourists enjoy such excursions.

 “All of the tourism partners we work with who deliver these excursions and adventures have a passion for what they do ... most of them would probably do this for free, if we let them,” she laughs.

Thanks to the involvement of their many partners, Experience PEI now offers visitors to their Inn and other accommodations across the province truly memorable Island experiences from start to finish ... which is helping to encourage repeat and longer visits each year.

“Most of our visitors take more than one adventure package, and the fisheries excursions have always been especially popular,” says Mary. 

All of which is keeping Bill and Mary very busy. 

“ACOA has played a significant role in the development of our tourism companies,” notes Bill. “We’ve both benefitted by participating in several ACOA best practices missions and Mary also took part in a course through ACOA at the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism that really helped set us on a good path for expanding our business through excursions.”

As busy as they are now, Bill and Mary Kendrick are still working on adding more excursions using the expertise and resources abundant on their Gentle Island. They have also begun doing presentations and workshops in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick showing other tourism operators how to develop similar tourism experiences in their regions.

What better reason to head down that Island road.

Published in 2010