Collaborative Approaches in The Upper Bay of Fundy Rural Region Destination Project
I was recently looking at the bird-proofed windows in the School Street Gallery, thinking about how geese fly: each plays a role in the success of their v-shaped flight paths. This is what we’re trying to mimic through the Upper Bay of Fundy Rural Region Destination Project (or, the Upper Fundy Network): a synchronized sense of community collaboration where everyone can move individually while supporting collective success. If you’ve had time to read the report we just published, you may have noticed how often words like “share,” “community,” and “collaboration” are featured throughout this almost 200-page document. This is because the work we are doing would be impossible without community support.
The challenges that we face in creating a sustainable form of tourism in our region are too large to be tackled by just one person. This project, instead, needs us to work together to create shared and lasting benefits. This collaboration is both within the Upper Fundy Network and the community, like we have seen through community conversations and surveys. Everyone in our region is a knowledge holder for various key components of this work: from local history to best practices in tourism. When we invite everyone to the table, we can share in the benefits of peoples expertise, knowledge, and creativity.
Decision making for this project takes place by the community, for the community - so it also needs to be supported by our communities. This approach empowers us to be a leader in destination planning and management by bringing together resources and expertise. This banding together requires a combined approach across the communities within the Upper Bay of Fundy Rural Region. Our shared connection to this rural region empowers us to work together as a unified destination and to decide on our shared development priorities and direction.
The previously mentioned report outlines our shared priorities for this project:
The first is developing and maintaining a regional vision and leadership. This will help the region come together under more coordinated visitor experiences that will share consistent stories and help us to find ways to save costs, invest in attractions, and create mutually beneficial partnerships.
We also want to use this work to create economic improvements like longer-term visitor stays and increased capacity of local businesses.
This collaboration will increase access to funding and expertise to start, enhance, or scale tourism businesses and developments in the region.
To do all this though, we need two essential things: engaged and supportive residents and government respect and support.
And this support brings us back to this importance of collaboration for this project. This work is too important and there is too much potential here for decisions to be made by just a few people. So continue to get involved, continue to go to community conversations, fill out surveys, and read reports as we work towards this regional development.