Cape Breton Website Offering Escape From Trump Sparks International Interest

February 25, 2016 Updated: February 25, 2016

An organization that promotes tourism in Cape Breton says the frenzied international interest around a website pitching the island to Americans wary of Donald Trump has presented an unintended and unprecedented marketing opportunity.

Mary Tulle, CEO of Destination Cape Breton Association, says her group’s website has exploded with 300,000 referrals from the “Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins” site, with about 216,000 of the clicks from curious Americans.

“If we were to do a Google ad campaign we are upwards of about $2 million right now,” said Tulle. “Last year we had an $80,000 budget for Google adverts.”

Tulle said the numbers are growing exponentially as media from around the world call to inquire about the story, the website, and about Cape Breton itself.

She said the resulting publicity is benefiting the island in ways her organization’s efforts couldn’t previously.

“The amount of free publicity and free media—it’s just not something we could ever have been able to do,” she said. “I think what’s happened is the beauty of Cape Breton has been shown internationally whether it’s through images or whether it’s through video.”

The site was set up over a week ago by radio announcer Rob Calabrese to poke fun at the bombastic Trump with the stated goal of spreading the word about the island’s many charms.

The resulting interest has spilled into the real estate market said Valarie Sampson, a realtor with RE/MAX Park Place in Sydney, N.S.

Sampson said there’s been a noticeable increase in website inquiries as a result of “If Trump Wins,” but adds it will likely be months before it’s known whether the publicity leads to any sales.

“People are actually looking at the website . . . and are giving us some possible inquiries as to property values, and we just abound in waterfront properties so needless to say people are interested,” said Sampson.

Point2Homes, a real estate listing portal based in Saskatoon, has also noticed a big jump in Cape Breton interest which it attributes directly to the website, with visits jumping from 200 per day to 38,000 daily.

But like Sampson, Jacquelyn Bauer, the company’s director of customer relations, is cautious in her assessment of where all the publicity will lead.

“Whether it’s just a sensational news story right now that’s piquing people’s interest or whether something actually comes out of it, that remains to be seen I think.”

From The Canadian Press