Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let's focus on the families...

There is an old adage "any news is good news" but when you see our Province branded in National newspapers like the Toronto Sun I just don't think it’s that good for our image as a tourist destination. I was listening today on CBC Radio to Sean Hennessey a Professor at UPEI talking about target marketing in our tourism sector and the essence of his comments were that if PEI is to succeed in tourism then we have to focus on one target audience. We can't try to lure families and at the same time try and lure adults only. He sighted Las Vegas who have $600 million to spend on advertising most of which is focused at adult audiences but when they tried to also attract families their campaign turned into a disaster. I agree with Mr. Hennessey that PEI has a limited budget and that we have to pick a single audience like families and focus on it. That being said we still need the festivals, but do families really want to go to "Rock Festivals" and there may lie the answer to containing some of the rowdiness and "party" atmosphere that is legitimately upsetting local residents. Surely there are festival themes more appealing to families that would draw more favourable crowds to PEI and not garner this type of bad publicity…
Festival turns into 'monster'
P.E.I. event marred by vomiting drunks
CHARLOTTETOWN -- Prince Edward Island's latest tourism campaign promotes Canada's smallest province as "the gentle island."
But that bucolic image stands in sharp contrast to the boorish behaviour witnessed earlier this month during Charlottetown's Festival of Lights.
A downtown neighbourhood was beset by rowdy revellers openly having sex, drinking, defecating, vomiting and committing acts of vandalism.
Mayor Clifford Lee apologized to residents when 70 people packed the council chamber to vent their anger and frustration over the three-day festival.
"We have failed miserably in addressing your concerns," Lee told them Tuesday.
The annual Canada Day festival, billed as Canada's largest birthday celebration east of Ottawa, featured a series of rock concerts on the city's historic waterfront.
The festival drew about 14,000 visitors on each of its three nights.
King St. resident Jack LeClair said the festival began as a "very gentle affair" but has morphed into an extremely rowdy event.
"It has turned into this monster," he said. "It's not about families and children. It's about young people getting drunk. ... If they want to come to the festival of fights and come puke on our island, that's what we are projecting. I'm just saying, re-think it."
Police said they responded to 12 reported assaults at the event and laid 75 liquor-related charges.
Rev. Scott MacIsaac, chaplain at Sleepy Hollow jail, said the festival has become an embarrassment.
"This event this year and the other years that I have seen it has caused significant harm," he said.
He said he and his family had to leave the festival site on the Saturday because of the drunks and "crackheads" he encountered.

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