Growing Geotourism on NL’s Bonavista Peninsula

News release

Federal and provincial governments support DAGI’s efforts to obtain UNESCO Global Geopark status 

March 8, 2019 – Bonavista, NL – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 

The tourism industry is a key economic driver in Atlantic Canada, generating new opportunities for sustainable economic growth, diversifying communities and creating well-paying jobs for middle class families in big cities and small towns.  

Recognizing the opportunities for continued tourism growth on the Bonavista Peninsula, Discovery Aspiring Geopark Inc. (DAGI) is further developing the region’s rich geological and cultural heritage with a goal to establish a geopark and achieve UNESCO Global Geopark designation. Obtaining this prestigious designation would raise the area’s geological significance on the world stage and advance the province’s geotourism industry. 

DAGI is currently developing five sites of geological importance, which will be part of the 10 sites identified in the region for its UNESCO Global Geopark application. Project activities include installing interpretative signs, developing promotional materials and marketing tools and creating educational materials on the area’s geology. This initiative also involves community engagement activities, securing sponsorships, professional development and training at national and international conferences, and hosting a UNESCO evaluation site visit. 

The Government of Canada is providing a non-repayable contribution totaling $386,750 and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $148,750 for this project. 

Churence Rogers, Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), along with the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (TCII), made the announcement today.

These investments build on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy by helping the region’s tourism industry attract more visitors and create new jobs. This bold approach is in line with Canada’s Tourism Vision, which seeks to make Canada a top-ten global tourism destination by 2025.


“The Government of Canada understands that tourism is an important industry in Atlantic Canada that offers a tremendous opportunity for further economic growth. We are committed to investing in smart initiatives like this one with DAGI that are creating new and innovative tourism experiences in the region, fostering sustainable economic development and strengthening and diversifying communities.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The Bonavista Peninsula’s unique culture, beautiful landscape and wonderful historical attractions make it one of the province’s top tourist destinations. The region also boasts amazing geological features and earth history that provide more opportunities for tourism growth and economic development. That is why we are pleased to help DAGI develop the region’s geotourism assets and create a quality experiential tourism product with an international appeal, which will draw more visitors to the Bonavista Peninsula and give residents a sense of pride over their geological heritage.”

- Churence Rogers, Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity

“Support from our government into Discovery Aspiring Geopark will further help strengthen its quest to become a UNESCO Global Geopark. This investment will assist in solidifying this designation, and help raise the area’s geological significance on the world stage, while advancing the province’s geotourism industry. Discovery Aspiring Geopark is a great compliment to the many high quality tourism offerings on the Bonavista Peninsula, providing another layer of activity that may be of interest to visitors attracted by arts, culture and nature-based tourism experiences.”

- The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

“The rich cultural history of the Bonavista Peninsula is well known. What is less well known is the rich geology of our region. The funding announced today work towards establishing and highlighting world-class geological sites for the benefit of both residents and visitors. I look forward to continuing to support Discovery Aspiring Geopark Inc. as they continue to grow and works towards becoming a UNESCO Geopark.”

- Neil King, MHA for Bonavista

“As a candidate for UNESCO Global Geopark designation, ACOA and TCII’s support will allow us to promote the region’s geological heritage on a global platform, while enhancing regional sustainable economic development. By working together, this funding will help us to strengthen regional partnerships to highlight the pillars of a UNESCO Global Geopark. This support will also allow us to expand visitor and tourism experiences by increasing branded interpretation at geosites and creating marketing and promotional materials.”

- John Norman, Chair, Discovery Aspiring Geopark Inc.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing $386,750 in this project through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF). The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $148,750 towards this project.

  • In 2017, the Government of Canada, through ACOA, also provided DAGI with a non-repayable contribution of $104,412 to develop the first five geosites in support of its UNESCO Global Geopark application. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador contributed $95,118 towards the project.

  • UNESCO will announce its decision on DAGI’s application in April 2020.

  • DAGI is a provincial not-for-profit organization representing many organizations and communities, including incorporated municipalities, individuals, support agencies and experts across several disciplines. The grassroots organization supports a collaborative and inclusive approach to encouraging responsible management and empowering communities on the Bonavista Peninsula.

  • UNESCO Global Geoparks are geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

  • The Innovative Communities Fund focuses on investments that lead to long-term employment and economic capacity building in Atlantic Canadian communities.

  • Eligible recipients include non-commercial/not-for-profit organizations such as local development associations, municipalities and their agencies, business or technology institutes, industry/sector associations, economic development associations, local co-operatives, universities and educational institutions.


Paul McGrath
Director, Communications

Eric Humber
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 709-725-9655 

Amanda McCallum
Discovery Aspiring Geopark Inc.

Page details

Date modified: