The mayor of Saint John may be the happiest person in New Brunswick this new year.

As CNN unveiled its record of prime journey destinations close to the globe for 2024, Saint John uncovered by itself on the listing with the likes of Indonesia, Turkey, Puerto Rico and Angola.

“I mean, it is really an remarkable checklist,” stated Mayor Donna Reardon.

“We know what we have, and we like what we have. But when somebody else acknowledges your great characteristics, just, I necessarily mean it can be so gratifying.”

At Visualize Saint John, which encourages tourism in the region, spokesperson Jillian MacKinnon was just as energized.

“Well, we have been thrilled clearly, for the reason that it truly is a reasonably prestigious list,” MacKinnon stated, incorporating that Saint John was the only Canadian desired destination provided.

Head and shoulders picture of a woman standing in front of a fenced off construction area without construction.
Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon stated the inclusion of Saint John on the destination list was ‘gratifying.’ (Roger Cosman/CBC)

But as Saint John was taken by shock by the list, one particular person in the provincial federal government was considerably less so — since it’s his work.

Neil Hodge is the vacation media consultant for Tourism New Brunswick. His day-to-working day function entails creating interactions with travel writers and journalists from close to the globe, and pitching them tales about New Brunswick in hopes they are going to opt for to address it.

“I knew CNN was operating on, as they do every single calendar year, a record of fantastic sites to go to in the forthcoming calendar year, and they’re often on the lookout for kind of less than-the-radar spots,” Hodge stated. “And so I did give them this idea.”

He isn’t going to know how numerous pitches about New Brunswick he’s despatched out in the earlier 12 months, but estimates it would be about “a few thousand.” 

But Hodge can inform you that 3,745 travel tales have been penned around the world about New Brunswick in the previous 12 months. That consists of anything from little bloggers to CNN and the New York Situations, he reported.

Each individual 12 months, Hodge travels to conferences for travel writers, wherever he will get to satisfy writers facial area to facial area and get them hooked on New Brunswick.

An aerial shot of a city's waterfront with an active construction site.
Hodge highlighted the connection to the Bay of Fundy when he pitched Saint John for the vacation checklist. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

“If you want to be in the tourism match and get your truthful share of the journey media protection … the vacation media wants to know you and they require to see your experience and you need to have to have a presence,” Hodge claimed.

Hodge said his place is not unique, and that “each and every province in Canada” has another person like him.

What he phone calls “3rd-celebration endorsement,” like the CNN story, goes a lot even further than frequent tourism advertising and marketing from the federal government, Hodge claimed.

“They create these travel stories about New Brunswick, and now it is not us in Tourism New Brunswick saying that we’re fantastic … We have any person else declaring that about us.

“And I believe the information arrives throughout a lot stronger as a end result of that.”

Why Saint John?

Hodge said some of his pitches arrive to fruition and others don’t. His preference of Saint John arrived from the uniqueness of its place on the Bay of Fundy.

He explained its proximity to other destinations this sort of as St. Martins, the Fundy Path Parkway, Fundy Countrywide Park, and the Hopewell Rocks tends to make it an desirable site as a tourist’s household foundation for day journeys.

When asked if any nearby tourism businesses or govt officers have his ear when he decides exactly where in New Brunswick to pitch, Hodge said no.

A couple hike in front of a vista
Saint John’s proximity to close by points of interest along the Bay of Fundy, this sort of as the Fundy Trail Parkway, aided condition the pitch, Hodge said. (The Fundy Trail Enhancement Authority)

“Oh no, I just come up with these, the tips of in which to pitch,” he reported, adding he routinely pitches stories from all corners of New Brunswick.

“And then it just depends on which a person they gravitate towards to go after for a story.”

Specifically after COVID, Hodge said, visitors are more drawn to wide open spaces and the protection of getting in nature, and destinations they can travel to rather of traveling.

“And I consider the Maritimes and New Brunswick in individual truly, genuinely suit that description.”

CNN record the ‘holy grail,” professor suggests

Lorn Sheehan, a Dalhousie University professor who experiments tourism approaches, known as CNN’s list “the holy grail” of acquiring notice for tourism.

“I would anticipate it can be some thing that would not even be remotely feasible supplied the budgets of most places,” Sheehan reported.

lorn sheehan
Lorn Sheehan, a Dalhousie professor who reports tourism strategy, stated building the vacation spot record is publicity that is challenging to put a value on. (Submitted Lorn Sheehan)

“I am absolutely sure not even extremely significant places in Canada would be able to afford the form of media exposure that obtaining on the CNN journey listing for 2024 will get you.”

The creators of a list like CNN’s, he said, are intrigued in off-the-overwhelmed-route places that are distinctive, and Saint John’s difference as the only town on the Bay of Fundy is just that, he reported.

“The Bay of Fundy offers anything that no other destination can actually provide,” Sheehan reported. “You can actually have individuals standing on the seafloor and tell them seven hrs from now this will be 40 toes underwater.

“Nicely, that is a exclusive encounter.”

He termed folks who do what Hodge does “channellers,” given that they test to channel interest toward journey writers and other people who have a major audience. 

“I suspect that CNN’s vacation writers, their inboxes are whole of men and women wanting to be integrated on the list in the next yr,” he reported.

“I consider all of that will have to have resonated with just one of the journey writers at CNN, and once more, which is just a fantastic outcome for New Brunswick.

“I would say it really is not seriously a random process, and yet in some methods it may possibly come to feel that way.”

Hopewell Rocks photo alternatively of metropolis

Irrespective of the title going to Saint John, CNN utilized a image of the well known Hopewell Rocks, a two-hour drive away and considerably nearer to Moncton.

Hodge thinks the photograph preference comes from how he pitched Saint John’s proximity to the Bay of Fundy. 

“This charming tiny city is an exceptional foundation from which to get pleasure from the nearby Bay of Fundy, famed for acquiring the world’s best tides,” the CNN write-up reads. It goes on to spotlight the city’s architecture, record, accommodations, and meals scene.

A screenshot from the CNN website showing the Hopewell Rocks
The CNN list employed a picture of the Hopewell Rocks as an alternative of Saint John. The provincial park is a two-hour generate from the metropolis and is a lot nearer to Moncton. (CNN “Where to go in 2024: The ideal spots to check out”)

When requested why Moncton or the complete province wasn’t pitched in its place, his answer was straightforward.

“Saint John is the only metropolis on the Bay of Fundy, and it was meant to be a Bay of Fundy pitch, so to discuss,” Hodge explained.

“Moncton is not positioned on the Bay of Fundy.”

MacKinnon, at Visualize Saint John, is not disheartened in the least by the evident picture snub.

“Hopewell Rocks is an vital component of the Bay of Fundy tale as very well. Just as we are, you know, the only town on the Bay of Fundy, so they’re all joined.”

She reported the city is on a tourism rebound as it recovers from COVID, and the town has plenty to give on its own alongside the broader Fundy region.

Back at city corridor, Reardon explained the metropolis has been placing extra revenue into tourism and financial improvement, but “Saint John is a town that has minimal means. So we are executing the greatest we can with what we have.”

As for the photo of the Hopewell Rocks as an alternative of a snapshot from her have metropolis?

“It’s very near,” Reardon reported, laughing, of Hopewell Cape.

“It can be really close.”