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Grand Manan named as top-three destination - Jul. 29, 2011


Vern Faulkner/Courier file
A summer sunrise as seen from the vantage point of one of the cliffside campsites at Hole in The Wall Campsite on Grand Manan. The Island was recently listed as one of the top-three island destinations by readersdigest.ca.

By John Gardner
john@stcroixcourier.ca
Grand Manan – It is a big achievement for a small island.
Travel experts at Readers Digest have named Grand Manan the third best small island in the world. The island is one of seven named in the on-line article at readersdigest.ca and is the only Canadian island to make the list. Grand Manan shares top-three billing with Barbuda (Antigua and Barbuda), and the Hawaiian island of Lana’i.
The announcement has a lot of people on the island excited about what this will mean for tourism in the island.
Grand Manan mayor Dennis Greene was not surprised by the announcement.
“It brought out something that we already knew, but we thought we were No. 1,” said Greene.
“We are thrilled to the gills,” said Allan MacDonald, co-chair of the Grand Manan Tourism Association. MacDonald points to the company the island is in, most of which are in warmer more exotic locations such as Greece, Cuba and Florida.
Greene points to the abundance of natural beauty both on the island which has “natural air conditioning” and in the water surrounding the island with a thriving population of whales.
MacDonald is one of two operators of whale watching companies and said that off the island tourists are offered two boats to see 30 whales, not 30 boats to see two whales.
Greene points out that Grand Manan is not an island you can see in a day.
“You come and stay a week or you make a return trip.”
The tribute comes at a good time, as the island’s tourism is recovering from a downturn after the main ferry to the island, the Grand Manan V was pulled from service after running aground earlier this summer.
The Grand Manan V is now back in service, and will soon be joined by the new Grand Manan Adventure, a new vessel that will increase the daily amount potential traffic from 630 to 1,000 vehicles.
“The timing is wonderful,” said MacDonald.
This is not the only honour to be bestowed on the island. MSNBC also picked the island as a top choice in travel destination options. Over the years several organizations, including National Geographic, have recognized the unique character of the island.
MacDonald is hopeful that the announcement as one of seven best small islands will encourage people to vote for the Bay of Fundy as one of the seven wonders of nature.
“It ties in quite nicely, another seven best.”
For more information on what to see and do on the island visit the Grand Manan Tourism Association web site: grandmanannb.com or contact the Grand Manan visitors information center at 662-3442 or toll free, 1-888-525-1655. Read about Grand Manan and the other islands selected as the “world’s best” at: readersdigest.ca/travell/world/worlds-7-best-small-islands.