and Darlene Pashak
and Darlene Pashak
CAMPBELL’S BAY – Agritourism and gourmet tourism were topics discussed at an information session at the MRC Pontiac building, April 5. The MRC Pontiac and the Table agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais (TAO) organized the activity in collaboration with its partners: Tourisme Outaouais (TO), Canada Economic Development (CED), Emploi-Québec and the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ).
zof Maniwaki and Jeremi Vaillancourt, Tourism Marketing Agent, were on site to inform the thirty Pontiac farmers and entrepreneurs present on the novelties of the agritourism program (a tourist activity complementary to agriculture) and gourmet tourism (discovering regions through distinctive culinary experiences as well as agrotourism and food related activities highlighting the expertise of its artisans). TAO noted that interest in these activites is growing.
TAO, a non-profit organization that coordinates development efforts in the regional agri-food sector, operates Outaouais Gourmet Way with support from its partners MAPAQ, CED and the MRC Pontiac. For the past eight years, they have published
a paper map and website to promote the Outaouais region’s food related businesses. Growing in popularity, the first map contained two businesses from
the Pontiac; last year there were eight.
The main purpose of Outaouais Gourmet Way is to connect urban dwellers with local food producers, from farmers to restaurants to specialized boutique retailers like chocolatiers and bakeries.
The organization recently received a $26,528 FARR funding grant, plus additional funds from the City of Gatineau and OT to enhance their services by developing an interactive smartphone app, to be launched this June. Survey results from 2017 indicated people are looking to add to their experiences when exploring the local food network, like visiting a farm, a museum or going on a hike. The new app will fulfill this need by allowing users to build their own itinerary for day trips.
Businesses can contact TAO until the end of April to be include in the listings; they will be evaluated to ensure they fit the broad criteria. Last year, TO, its 64 members, and partners distributed 50,000 copies of the paper map, reaching all major tourist outlets in Québec.
TAO representative Vincent Philibert said some businesses no longer print their own materials, relying instead on the paper map for exposure.
Following the information session, participants discussed the needs of Pontiac farmers and entrepreneurs and areas where improvements can be made. They also identified complementary activities to agrotourism and gourmet tourism in the territory. The event ended with a glass of beer and a light lunch featuring dishes from the region.