Cliff Notes: 2019, the Joggins Fossil Institute’s year of partnerships
On October 31 the Joggins Fossil Centre closed for another season. During 2019 the Joggins Fossil Institute focused on partnerships which resulted in great leaps forward in marketing and outreach. JFI partnered with Nova Scotia Tourism to work on attracting more visitors to the site. We connected with NovaShores Adventures to offer the Joggins Hidden Cliffs Experience, a four-hour kayaking adventure that gave participants a chance to explore sections of the Cliffs, completely inaccessible by foot, and to experience the Bay of Fundy tides first-hand. We also partnered with Parrsboro’s Fundy Geological Museum to produce Cast into the Past, a hands-on adventure during which participants explored both sites in one day: visiting the beach with a paleontologist, and creating fossil casts to take home. JFI learned a tremendous amount from both programmes and is excited to offer them again in the 2020 season.
This season JFI was also fortunate to partner with Heritage Models Museum, and the Minudie Heritage Association to publish a local travel brochure. The free brochure, contains a map which leads visitors around the Joggins/Minudie/River Hebert driving or biking loop, and identifies 18 heritage attractions to take in along the way, including the anchor sites of the Heritage Models Museum (River Hebert), Joggins Fossil Centre/Cliffs, UNESCO World Heritage Site and, in Minudie, the Seaman School Museum, St. Denis Church and the King Seaman Universalist Church. Local businesses are also listed for the visitors’ convenience. All partners involved appreciated the mutual benefit of keeping visitors in the area longer.
Looking back, the 2019 tourism season was slow in starting. The cold wet weather of May/June was reflected in weaker admission numbers. JFI had a stronger July than in 2018, but, unfortunately August was down this year over last. By the end of September, paid admission was down a little compared to 2018. One interesting tidbit is that spend-per-head was up. Another way of looking at it is that, while we had fewer people through our doors, those who did come purchased more than usual.
Now that winter is upon us we will begin the task of finishing the loose ends of the previous season, and begin preparations for 2020. February is the ideal time for us to ensure our message is in front of potential visitors, as that is often the time people start planning their summer vacations. Vacation planning and snow, they go hand in hand. We thank all of our 2019 partners for their hard work and cooperation. It was great to work together.
Joggins Fossil Institute Staff
Note: this article first appeared in the Cumberland News Now.