The racing Clipper Yachts left Sydney on June 19, leaving good feelings and economic spin offs in their wake.
The Canadian entry is represented by Cape Breton and is sponsored by the Sydney Ports Corporation, to the tune of $500,000. The investment is the centre piece of an effort to promote business investment and tourism in Cape Breton. Promoting tourism has long been a concern for Cape Breton’s movers and shakers, but the clipper promotion also comes at a time when the Ports Corporation and other local organizations are exerting no small amount of effort to develop the Sydney Port as a major stop on shipping routes.
While federal investment in dredging the harbour has yet to come, private interests are still smiling over the spin off to local businesses, the establishment of a UK-Canada seafood trade corridor, and the good impression left on clipper race participants.
The Cape Breton Business Partnership, which represents about 150 organizations that work to create a strong local economy, confirmed that the Clipper event has made a big impact. Executive Director Keith MacDonald said, “Businesses have reported a record week, especially in the hospitality sector. It’s all been very positive.”
Governors Pub and Eatery is among the downtown businesses reporting unprecedented business over the ten-day Clipper port stopover. Chef and owner Ardon Moffard said, “I haven’t experienced anything like it in 22 years of business. In the first four days of the visit we did more than in the whole of May last year.”
The Clipper visit took place alongside a conference on the formation of a Canada-UK Trade Corridor. The UK Trade delegation from Hull & Humber led to establishing a Seafood Trade Corridor to access a multi-billion dollar annual demand from seafood processors. John Lynn of the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation was thrilled with the groundwork that has been set so far. “One of the multi-nationals attending from the UK has already offered to fund the first purchase of Cape Breton seafood to pilot the export/import path and associated inspection and transport logistics,” he stated in a media release.
Yorkshire Forward, ECBC’s UK counterpart agency was also using their Hull & Humber entry to boost trade. Humber assistant director Sarah Pearson foresees more big things in the future, saying, “I am confident that the establishment of a dedicated trade corridor will drive big business opportunities between Cape Breton and the Humber, and could grow to include other sectors such as renewable energy, ports and logistics, health care and high tech.”
For more information about the Cape Breton’s entry in the clipper race, visit capebretonclipper.com.