Strategic Tourism for Areas and Regions


We are pleased to announce the launch of Tourism Atlantic’s (ACOA) Strategic Tourism for Areas and Regions (STAR) program for the Annapolis Valley region. With the help of Richard Innes, our tourism consultant, STAR will assist the Region in becoming a sustainable tourism destination through strategic, collaborative, community-based tourism development.  

The program is based on strategic and collaborative destination development encouraging active participation from the tourism industry, local organizations, governments, communities and residents. 

STAR 7 Step Process

Step 1: Start-up and Regional Research

One-on-one interviews with community leaders, tourism operators and key tourism partners are ongoing throughout the early stages of information gathering.

2: Introduction to STAR: Site Visit (December)

Participants were able to provide input and ask questions about the program during public information sessions held throughout the region in December 2021.

3: Visioning, Benchmarking, Idea Generation (April)

Richard was back in the region in April 2022 for Visioning and Idea Generation Sessions. Over 100 people provided feedback that will help to shape the Regional Tourism Strategy.

4: Consultations – Survey, Coffee Sessions (July)

Richard toured the region in peak season and was able to experience low tide beach excursions, biking the Harvest Moon Trail, and visits to several communities on the Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin shores. Municipal representatives, Community organizations and tourism operators highlighted the value and potential of the region through visits and conversations.

5: Draft Plan Presentation, Capacity Building (September)

6: Final Plan, Implementation (November)

7: Follow-up – 3, 6, 12 months

To supplement information gathered at the Visioning Sessions (Stage 3), we are asking interested individuals to complete a short survey to share views and perspectives on tourism development in the Annapolis Valley Region.

The survey will be live until July 31, 2022.  



Meet Our Consultant, Richard Innes

Richard is a marketing specialist with 32 years of experience and a background steeped in tourism. He has held senior roles in national and international advertising agencies, managing assignments for some of Canada’s largest advertisers.

As an experienced tourism industry strategist, he blends the creativity of his marketing background with the discipline of visitor-centric tourism strategy development. He excels in multi-stakeholder environments and relishes opportunities to work with tourism owner-operators. As an accomplished facilitator, he can rally tourism stakeholders in collaborative dialogue that generates relevant and realistic business solutions to increase the visitor economy. 

In 2000, Richard established Brain Trust, and over the past 21 years, his firm has earned the opportunity to work on tourism-related assignments at the national, provincial, regional and local levels. In 2012, Richard was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his service to Canada’s tourism industry.

“I am thrilled to be working with the Annapolis Valley tourism industry. The STAR process represents an opportunity for tourism stakeholders to come together to identify a series of relevant and realistic strategies to enhance competitiveness and demand.

As the global tourism sector rebounds, there is no better time than now for tourism operators in the valley to embark on this exciting destination development journey.

I maintain that a collection of bright minds properly stimulated will produce the ideas we are looking for and some we never expected.”   


Visit Tourism Nova Scotia’s Corporate Site to learn more about their programs, tools and resources.


Destination Canada’s produces regular data, market intelligence and industry analysis to help businesses grow Canada’s tourism industry.  

GMIST offers training programs and development support services to advance the quality and success of tourism operators and destinations.

Want to Keep Up-to-date on STAR?

Contact Richelle at and follow our social platforms.

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