ECT attracts Thousands of Hikers & contributes Millions to Tourism spending in NL
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
News Release (St. John’s, NL) In survey results and an economic impact analysis released today, the East Coast Trail (ECT) attracted over 14,600 hikers and contributed $3.5 million to tourism spending in the province in 2013.
This comprehensive survey of hikers, households, and businesses followed by an economic impact analysis was undertaken by the East Coast Trail Association (ECTA) to identify who is using the trail, to measure awareness and support of the trail among residents and businesses, and to quantify the spending in Newfoundland that results from having an award winning wilderness hiking trail available to residents and tourists to hike.
Commenting on the purpose of the survey and economic impact analysis, Randy Murphy, president of ECTA said, We undertook this research to give us solid data on the value of the trail to hikers, the community and businesses and to understand the economic impact of the trail in the province. As the developers and custodians of the East Coast Trail, this information is necessary to guide our decisions on trail management and maintenance activities, what’s working, what needs improvement, as well as to position the East Coast Trail as a valuable community and tourism asset worth protecting.
Highlights of the Survey and Economic Impact Analysis include:
~ Trail has a positive impact: more than eight-in-ten residents and businesses indicated that the trail had a positive impact on their business and community while 75% of residents also said it had a positive impact on them personally.
~ Trail should be protected: over nine-in-ten residents, businesses and hikers feel it’s extremely important that the ECT be maintained and protected for continued public use.
~ ECTA membership: while awareness of the trail was high among residents (78%) and businesses (90%) – just 3% of residents are members and 20% of businesses are members.
~ Funding for the Trail: residents and businesses feel that the majority of funding of the trail should come from government sources, provincial, federal, and municipal.
~ Hiker Profile: in the survey period approximately 42% of hikers were residents and close to 58% were non-residents. Of those hiking, approximately 54% are women and 46% men.
~ Hiker satisfaction: An impressive 98% of hikers said their expectations had been met or exceeded. Nearly all hikers surveyed gave a rating of 8 or higher in terms of their overall satisfaction with the path they hiked.
~ Economic Impacts: $3.5 million of the roughly $1billion in tourism spending in the province in 2013 was due to the East Coast Trail. In addition the trail generated 37 person years of employment.
What the survey has told us is that the East Coast Trail is valuable to the community and to the economy, commented Murphy. Our work therefore has to be focused on protecting this valuable asset; working with all stakeholders to maintain and attract funding, seek formal protection of the trail for future generations to enjoy, and to increase members and volunteers so that we have the support necessary to carry on our work.
In 2014 the ECTA celebrated its 20th anniversary and the creation of 265 kilometres of fully developed world-class hiking trail along the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula. The East Coast Trail Association is a member-based, volunteer-supported charitable organization whose mission is to develop, maintain and preserve the East Coast Trail while respecting the integrity of the natural environment. The work of the Association is made possible through memberships, corporate and private donations, and through support from the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and a number of municipalities.
For more information on the 2013 survey results and economic impact assessment ( click below)
East CoastTrail Survey – Highlights
Economic Impact Assessment Highlights
For further information please contact:
Kimberly Yetman Dawson
East Coast Trail Association
(709) 738-4453 (office)
(709) 771-0203 (cell)