ST. ANNE’S: Research conducted during the third season of “KitchenFest! Féis a’ Chidsin!” proved the festival to be a motivator for tourists to visit Cape Breton and a positive impact on the island’s tourism economy with over 8,000 people attending.

In July, The Gaelic College celebrated the third year of its annual traditional Cape Breton Island-wide festival, KitchenFest!

Prior to the launch of year three, local research company RISE Research and Analytics was hired to conduct market research to define audience demographic and geographic information, motivational factors for attendees to visit Cape Breton, and the resulting impact on the tourist industry.

The research conducted among KitchenFest! audience members showed that the festival was either a main motivator or highly motivating for 66 per cent of visiting attendees, 61 per cent of these visitors stayed in paid accommodations, the average length of stay was over nine nights, with visitors spending on average $1,641 during that time, and 77 per cent of venues hosting KitchenFest! events had an increase in revenue.

“KitchenFest! has exceeded our expectations, growing by 14 per cent in 2016,” says Gaelic College CEO Rodney MacDonald.

“Over 8,000 people from here and around the world attended this summer, up 30 per cent from Year 1, and over 70 restaurants participated as part of our Eat Local program. We are excited to see where things go from here!”

Director of marketing and performer Margie Beaton is excited to use the research to further refine marketing initiatives, and is thrilled to know that half of attendees are visitors.

“Having visitors make up half of our audience is something we strived to achieve by Year 5. Getting there two years early is great news.”

Gaelic College board chair Kirk MacRae is encouraged by the results.

“With over 100 events spread across the island, the festival is a great way to showcase Cape Breton’s Gaelic music and culture and be that annual kick-off to the island’s peak tourism season.”

KitchenFest! is back for Year 4 in 2017, running July 1-7.


Contributed photo
Numbers show that the annual KitchenFest! has been very positive for Cape Breton.