Have you ever wanted to walk the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean? Or swim in the clear blue waters off Southeast Asia?
Well, according to new information by a Colombian researcher who specializes in coastal management, Nova Scotians can skip the travel and just stay close to home.
“This should be on a slogan — you don’t need to travel … to visit awesome beaches,” Camilo Botero told CBC Radio’s Information Morning Halifax.
“You have here in Nova Scotia these awesome beaches. Maybe the water is cold, but all the other things are great.”
Botero, a visiting scholar at Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, has spent the last six months visiting 149 of Nova Scotia’s beaches, with the goal of rating them to improve visitor experience and encourage tourism promotion.
He and his team evaluated the coastal scenery of each beach to determine how scenic they are, rating them from Class 1 (most scenic) to Class 5 (least scenic).
Botero said Class 1 beaches are the most natural beaches, with beautiful assets including cliffs, white sand, clear blue water, vegetation and well-preserved dunes.
WATCH | The methodology of rating Nova Scotia’s beaches:
Featured VideoColombian researcher Camilo Botero from Sergio Arboleda University specializes in coastal management. He’s using a methodology to rate as many of Nova Scotia’s beaches as possible, as part of tourism promotion.
Class 1 beaches are also well maintained, clean and far enough away from roads and structures so as to not disrupt the atmosphere, he said.
“One of the most important conclusions of my research is that beaches are not just playgrounds,” he said.
“Beaches are ecosystems and it’s very important that we manage beaches [for] the recreational purposes … but also [for] the ecosystem purposes.”
Botero said of the 149 beaches he visited, about 30 per cent rated as Class 1 or 2.
He said the Eastern Shore had the most Class 1 beaches, including The Sand Bar in Little Harbour, Psyche Cove Beach in Taylor Head Provincial Park and about six others along the 100 Wild Islands.
“These are very nice and very easy to visit if you are living in Halifax — just a half hour of driving and take a boat and you will be there,” he said.
There were also six beaches on the South Shore that rated as Class 1, including in Sandhills Beach Provincial Park and St. Catherine’s River Beach in the seaside region of the Kejimkujik National Park.
Botero said all three sections of Carters Beach in Port Mouton also received a Class 1 ratings, praising their wildness and natural beauty.
Popular beaches including Lawrencetown Beach in the Halifax Regional Municipality and Ingonish Beach in the Cape Breton Regional Highlands received Class 3 evaluations, while Inverness Beach in Cape Breton received a Class 4.
Botero said just because a beach is ranked lower, Class 3-5, doesn’t mean it’s not a nice beach. It could be its proximity to a community that has it ranked lower, he said.
“Many of these beaches are very nice beaches. It’s not because they’re Class 4, they’re not good beaches,” he said.
“For example, Inverness Beach, which almost everybody knows in the province, it’s a very nice beach, but because it’s a village beach, it’s not a Class 3 or Class 2.”
Could be tourism campaign
Botero said many of the beaches that have been rated Class 1 or Class 2 could be internationally certified to promote nature-based or scientific tourism, rather than mass recreational tourism which would be better suited to Class 4 and 5 beaches.
He said Class 3 beaches, however, could go either way depending on how they’re managed.
“The main impression is that we should take care more about beaches in the province because we have a lot of very nice beaches and stewardships around beaches I think [are] very important,” he said.
He also suggested that beaches be classified and promoted based on their use.
“Surely, it could be a great asset in the future for promotion, to invite people to come to the province — and even [to those] living here in the province — [that] next time maybe we don’t decide to go to Hawaii to visit beaches, if we have very nice beaches here,” he said.