Food, glorious food and helping visitors catch it themselves form the bedrock of this experiential Prince Edward Island business.
Tales of Prince Edward Island inevitably turn to its great culinary choices. Lobsters, clams, oysters and fresh local produce—including potatoes, of course—all help to bring visitors to this slice of Atlantic Canada. Tranquility Cove Adventures (TCA), a local company immersed in not just the food but also the adventure of getting it yourself, plays its part in the story, too.
Its Giant Bar Clam Dig Adventure is in the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s Signature Experiences Collection® (SEC). CTC is still sifting through the second round of applications to join its current membership list, with more tourism businesses lined up to bolster a program designed to set Canada apart from its international competitors. If you’ve missed the deadline for this round, there will be another chance to put your business in the frame this spring.
Previous SEC case studies:
Heartland International Travel & Tours
Tranquility Cove Adventures is all about hands-on adventures. Visitors may not be singing, but they are certainly hand-harvesting for their suppers (which is also environmentally friendly). In the latest of the CTC News seriesof Collection members’ case studies, Perry Gotell, owner/operator and skipper of Tranquility Cove Adventures, charts the growth of his business and its strong family roots.
When did you decide to get into the tourism business? And what was your inspiration?
In 2007 we started making plans and in 2008 we launched TCA. We’re trying to give visitors to Prince Edward Island something different, to be unique. We looked at all the aspects of tourism that were being offered by other businesses and saw an opening. Our experiences have great family appeal. I’ve been doing these trips out to Boughton Island for years, starting with my parents and grandparents. I wasn’t sure how it would go at first back in 2008, but within three weeks I started having to hire staff. It just exploded! I now have two full-time staff members and two part-timers.
Describe a typical day on the Giant Bar Clam Dig Adventure.
Our trips are about four to five hours long. We give our clients wetsuits, masks, snorkels and clamming hacks, then get them into the water. It’s about chest-deep where we stop, just off Boughton Island. It’s a great spot, five miles from Georgetown Harbour and uninhabited. We show them what to look for and then they get started. It’s up to them to get dinner, so when we have filled a big pot with giant bar clams we head to the beach for a big cookout. We also take clients to Panmure Island Lighthouse to take photos, and then to look at and handle a lobster trap, a rock crab pot and a mussel sock. So it’s not just the food, we also describe the fishing industry on PEI and give travellers some education, too. Last stop is for a seal watch—there are about 40 to 50 resident seals usually swimming around.
What kind of travellers does your business attract?
We mainly get families, people of all ages. All of them are the outdoor-adventure type—they don’t mind if it’s raining, they don’t mind if the wind’s blowing hard. They just want to be out there.
What immediate benefits do you see for Tranquility Cove Adventures now that you are part of the Collection?
International exposure is the main one. We’ve already had coverage in the provincial newspapers.
Are you promoting your membership? If so, how?
My business is seasonal, running from May through September, so I’ll be getting my website updated in early January. I’ll be showing our membership there at that time.
Are there specific international markets that you can see your business resonating in through the Signature Experiences Collection®?
Now we’re part of SEC I’m hoping we’ll get more international visitors. Europe is a big market for us and could get bigger, and I also hope to tap into the Asian market.