David Hovell, executive director of the Wolfville Business Development Corporation, says the bus tour has already succeeding in bringing in tourists from outside the (Annapolis) Valley to experience the offerings of five local (Nova Scotia) wineries.
“We’ve had two full weekends so far, and each day, our numbers of guests have been growing,” Hovell said, adding that the first wave of marketing focused on attracting people from Halifax county into the area.
“We want to bring as many new people to the area as possible, to experience fall in Kings County and to experience what will become the wine centre of the Maritimes.”
The concept of the tour bus was developed four months ago, when WBDC, the town of Wolfville and representatives from the five wineries – Muir Murray Winery, Domaine de Grand Pré, Luckett Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards and Gaspereau Vineyards – sat down to brainstorm ways they could work together to make this area a winery experience.
“We wanted to plan a new, significant tourism festival in the fall in Wolfville that celebrates everything wine and food,” Hovell said.
It’s a good fit for the area, he added, since area residents are already very connected to where their food comes from. This festival simply expands and builds on that.
The double-decker tour bus is popular with both tourists and locals alike, he added.
“You or I could go and drive around Wolfville in our cars, but 15 feet up, atop a double-decker bus, you see everything from a different perspective,” he said.
The bus departs Wolfville each Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 and makes repeat trips every hour for pick-ups and drop-offs at each winery. Visitors can get on and off and stay as long as they wish at each stop before boarding the bus and returning to Wolfville at 5:30 p.m.
The event, he adds, is very family-friendly, with some locations offering children’s activities.
Other Wolfville and area businesses are already seeing the benefits of the tour as well.
“The tourists are spending time in our restaurants, staying overnight at our bed and breakfasts, the merchants in downtown Wolfville are seeing an increase in traffic with new people popping in before they get on the bus or after they return,” Hovell added.