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Tourismtimes Newsletter of the Tourism Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Fall 2011

Fogo Island:

Making Tourism Happen

leadership in customer experiences In scanning Twitter messages a few mornings ago, I noticed a comment someone had posted about a customer experience at a local independent restaurant. The ‘Tweeter’ commented about how disinterested the server had been in him a few minutes ago as he ordered his coffee. He noted that it was unlikely he would go back there, specifically naming the establishment for the Carol-Ann Gilliard benefit of his followers. All CEO, Hospitality Newfoundland of this was said in less than and Labrador 140 characters, took a few seconds at most and potentially reached hundreds, if not thousands, of people. A couple of things jumped out at me in the experience of reading this tweet. First, I felt bad for the customer, knowing how awful such experiences can be. I also could not help but empathize with the business involved, knowing that even the most well managed businesses, with a deep commitment to customer service, fail to meet customer expectations from time to time. Second, I am shocked that ‘Tweet’ is now used as a part of my everyday vocabulary for anything other than the tourism industry’s affectionate name for Helena Lawlor. Third, the real point I want to make, is that customer feedback is instantaneous and not always given directly to managers or owners anymore. One time, customers came directly to organizations to complain and they likely shared their experience within close networks of family and friends. These days, customers have places to go online to share their best and worse experiences to an audience of millions. Social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, and others like TripAdvisor, are just some of the countless sites that customers use to post feedback about organizations. The response from organizations instead of playing out across a cash register is often played out across a public online forum. So…is online the new frontline of tourism? The argument can be made to strongly suggest online is becoming a bigger part. I’m willing to bet that the person in the scenario above posted his complaint on Twitter from an iPhone while walking across the parking lot and holding a coffee in his other hand. It is that easy and it is live within seconds. The only way that the managers in this instance would have known about the complaint is if the organization was also in this environment. I don’t know the outcome of this customer experience. Hopefully, the people in charge of the restaurant pay attention to what people are saying about them on social media and other sites. If so, they may have recovered the loyalty of the customer, who ultimately did them a

service by telling them how to improve...but only if they heard it. If so, the customer may have walked away feeling that his voice was heard, viewing the business as one that listens to its customers – whether online or at the counter. Actively participating in successful service recovery online can only happen if managers and employees understand the power of online networking and the role they themselves play in this new frontline of customer service. The risk for businesses not learning, not participating in this new media is that they will be judged regardless, without the benefit of a response in defense or apology. The important message I want to share with tourism managers and owners, who may be struggling to lead their organization in this new online customer environment, is that whether you are there or not, your current and potential customers likely are. Every organization in the world is now at the mercy of whatever any individual person wants to say about them (within reason, of course). Incidentally, if you go looking for your disappointed customers online, you will likely find the satisfied ones that say nice things, too. Who really knows if a complaint on an online networking site will have a lasting impact on the customer or the business? The hundreds or maybe thousands of twitter followers that read it may not follow one customer’s lead. Nevertheless, the negative experience has become a part of an online ‘scorecard’ that customers will use, consciously or subconsciously, to evaluate the organization. In many ways, I can’t help but feel like we are all just mastering the skills of email and website development and, before we’re ready, being thrust into new ways to interacting with customers online. This is presenting a whole new level of strategic and operational management requirements for business managers and employees, which is often already scarce to begin with. The sad truth, however, is that whether you join this new environment or not, it will go on. As difficult as it is to learn and then strategically manage social media and other online sites, establishing a positive online reputation is becoming a greater necessity and important business responsibility. I’m not an expert on social media, so maybe online is not as big a part of frontline customer experiences as I think it is. If tourism organizations want to be leaders in customer experiences, though, they would be wise to investigate. What I do know is that tourism is one of the industries that has the most to lose and gain through social media. I wish I could say that avoiding the new online realities of frontline customer service is something organizations could get away with for a little while longer. But we are in the tourism industry, so saying that might be denial. Three things that I’m taking from this experience? 1. Leadership in customer experience means constantly adapting to new realities. 2. Where our customers are, we should be. 3. Helena will always be the original Tweet.

Carol-Ann Gilliard

Members of HNL’s Board of Directors and the NL Tourism Board outside the Bruce II Sports Center in Port aux Basques, NL

some things just happen So, we all survived the season Newfoundlanders and Labradorians affectionately call “Summer.” While this “Summer” called for more sweatshirts and sneakers than shorts and sandals, it’s still not hard to find stories of tourists that had incredible experiences. In fact, even despite the literal cloud that hung over most of the province this summer, travellers still raved about the things they saw and did John Dicks throughout the province. I Chair, Hospitality Newfoundland am pleased to say that I, too, and Labrador became one of these tourists over the summer, taking a special familiarization tour of the TwillingateNew World Island and Fogo Island regions of Central. We have all heard about many great things happening in the Twillingate area and on Fogo Island, so it is a great time for our province with respect to tourism product development. Both areas are on the brink of reaching new levels in their tourism development and return for their investments. Every region that makes the commitment and investment in the priority areas of product development is strengthening the overall product in the province and enhancing the experiences and options for travellers. In July, several members of HNL’s Board of Directors took part in fam tour (familiarization tour) of the Twillingate-New World Island and Fogo Island regions. We were excited to do this because both regions are engaged in processes for significant investment in tourism development. On Fogo Island, this is being led by significant investments in the priorities of the Shorefast Foundation and in the Twillingate-New World Island area, the provincial government recently announced an initiative to support and develop authentic multi-seasonal tourism products and services. Just like a regular tourist, I was excited about the trip. I thought about what to pack (as the weather could be variable) and I looked forward to the activities that were planned. Our itinerary included many different local sights and sounds of that left all of us excited about the potential for this region for tourists - many pictures were taken, many memories created. As someone who had not been to Fogo Island, I vowed that I would not wait too long before returning again. As the trip neared its end on Fogo Island, we were driving with our tour guide back to our accommodations after a day of exploring when

we were paralyzed by what we saw on the side of the road that became for us, the real and authentic experience that most people crave when they visit our province. Now, before I get into the sight that stopped us in our tracks, let me qualify that an ‘average’ road in Newfoundland and Labrador is by no means average. In this particular instance, on one side runs the ocean coast where the waves play home to birds and whales and on the other side, runs clapboard houses dotting the community like colourful polka dots on a canvas. Hardly average. It was along this road that our most memorable experience was created. Facing the ocean, was a shed, which likely was a fishing shed in its past life. Next to the house was a flake full of caplin assembled so perfectly that it would only be comparable to an artist creating a masterpiece, so evenly spaced and perfectly lining the small handmade fishflake. Next to the flake was an older gentleman, standing with one foot up on a stump, and as he leaned forward on his knee and gazed out at the ocean. It reminded us of a scene from just about either one of the province’s television advertisements. People from this province may say, “What’s the big deal? So, what? Some guy in Fogo was drying his fish and looking out at the ocean.” However, consider this from a tourist’s perspective. This was a completely authentic, completely unexpected happening. We did not pay admission, it was not on our itinerary, and it was better than any reality show out there! As we approached, we could not help but screech the van to a sudden halt, jump out and have a chat with the man. That little exchange with Mr. Arthur Gill of Fogo became one of the highlights of the trip. He was also nice enough to indulge us in taking a few photos of him that we knew would end up in this edition of Tourism Times (see page 4). An important lesson was reaffirmed for me that day. Development and progress are great things; without them we cannot move forward. After all, I would have never experienced the chat with Mr. Gill that day if it was not for our interest in learning about the new developments drawing me there but, in our pursuit for the next big thing, let us not forget what makes this place special in the first place. All the money, planning, and good intentions in the world cannot replace what it authentically ours. Our culture, heritage and history, as delivered by the special people of this province, continue to play as big a role in our tourism industry as any new development we have or may have in the future. So, as we all continue to make progress, let us not forget about the little things. Let us consider them in everything we do. Let us make sure that we do not lose sight of what makes us truly special. For travellers to our province, the things that sometimes ‘just happen’ are the things that are remembered for a lifetime.

John Dicks

An Artist Studio as part of the Shorefast Foundation’s work on Fogo Island

Fall 2011

and some things don’t just happen


Familiarization (fam) trips have been increasingly used by industry over the last number of years as a way to better understand the on-theground tourism experiences available in Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the summer, HNL and NL Tourism Board representatives completed a fam trip of the Twillingate-New World Island area and Fogo Island. Board members felt that a fam trip to this region was important because of the progressive development that has been occurring in the region over the past few years and for those that are planned in the future. To truly experience firsthand the tourism products and services available in the region, you should go as a tourist! HNL and the tourism industry as a whole has long known that positive customer experiences take more than simply having a place to stay, something to eat, and somewhere to go. So, HNL was particularly interested in the current and future initiatives that are happening in both regions and how they would service the travellers to that region. The experience was phenomenal! The investment, the product development and the revitalization of these small rural communities was encouraging to everyone on the tour. We found great places to stay and eat, experienced great entertainment and breathtaking natural settings. But the trip was not without hiccups. The trip gave HNL an opportunity to get an on-the-ground assessment of two of its current advocacy issues: signage and the provincial ferry system. HNL has been involved with the development of a new Tourist Oriented Directional Signage (TODS) model for the province. When carried out, TODS will have the ability to significantly enhance wayfinding services and directional signage in Newfoundland and Labrador and we are in fact on our way. However, signage issues reared an ugly head as fam trip participants drove to the ferry dock. Driving their own vehicles, equipped with GPS and correctly plotted coordinates to the ferry dock, the GPS became the hero of the day! A sign leading tourists to the ferry dock was missing at a critical juncture. Without the GPS, participants would have missed the ferry dock turnoff completely. What does this tell us? Little things matter and we don’t always acknowledge the impact of the little things, like one missing sign on a traveller! Moreover, it became glaringly obvious that consistent maintenance is required. Signs blow down, signs fade, signs get knocked over, but, travellers still need them. There is a gap. And some things don’t just “happen”. Improvements to the provincial ferry services are something that HNL has been advocating for and will have an increased focus on in the upcoming year. The ferry trip between Man-O-War and Farewell worked out pretty well for fam trip participants but not without much preparation - the schedule was researched, the departure times were well known, the process for checking in was followed. They knew what to expect. But, that begged the questions, “What would it be like if we didn’t know what to expect? What if we just drove up and wanted to go to Fogo Island?” The answer, “It would be complicated.” What does this tell us? The provincial ferry service needs to be responsive, consistent and efficient. Significant investment is required to upgrade ferry infrastructure throughout the province and to make the experience more customer focused. It can be argued that the purpose of this service is pure transportation and therefore requires no “frills.” So, is providing a reliable schedule, an efficient check-in process, or an on-board vending machine a “frill?” No. There is a gap. Gaps exist in every industry, it is the nature of progress and they are terribly hard to avoid all together. Some are big like TODS that requires significant investment, commitment and coordination and some are

Another beautiful shot from scenic Fogo Island, NL

small like vending machines that requires little more than common sense but they all add up to give a traveller an experience. So, HNL challenges you. Find your gaps, big or small. What are you missing that could impact the type of experience you provide? Are they big? Are the small? Isn’t it about time you found out?

Mr. Arthur Gill drying caplin at his home in Fogo, NL

making tourism happen Twillingate-New World Island Twillingate - New World Island region is a region that has culture, nature, history and an iconic story that signals true tourism growth potential. While a burgeoning tourism industry already exists, further tourism development in the Twillingate - New World Island region would have a positive impact on local tourism operators, help create more jobs and further contribute to the long-term sustainability of its communities. In recognition of the area’s tourism potential, based on the recommendations of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board, a pilot project focusing on Building Multi-Seasonal Traveller Attractions will be happen in the Twillingate-New World Island area starting this year. The purpose of the project is to build on tourism initiatives already Capelin drying on a stage in Fogo, NL

happening in the area, and to identify, support, and develop the right tourism products and services that the market is seeking. “We must deliver on their expectations by developing multiseasonal attractions with supporting infrastructure and service in the right locations, as outlined in Uncommon Potential: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (Vision 2020),” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. “This will give tourism operators the opportunity to bring in more visitors and revenues throughout the year. Increased profits for operators result in economic gain for the communities in which they work and live.” To ensure the effort is met with the funding required to ensure success, French announced an investment of $300,000 to support and develop authentic multi-seasonal tourism products and services in the region. Fogo Island and Change Islands Fogo Island and Change Islands also has its fair share of tourism potential. The tourism vision for the region, as initiated by the Shorefast Foundation, has enabled the region to leverage public and private investment to build a solid foundation of attractions and services that will contribute greatly to the Island’s long term sustainability. In 2009, ACOA, the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and the Shorefast Foundation announced a $16 million dollar geo-tourism project for Fogo Island and Change Islands. The Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador each invested $5 million dollars and the Shorefast Foundation

The start of a new inn being built in Fogo, NL

Fall 2011

A restored stage in Tilting, Fogo Island, NL

invested $6 million dollars in a project that will position the area as a world-class destination for cultural, ecological, and culinary tourism. To attract travellers seeking unique cultural experiences, and to build the profile of the region through the arts, the project plans include: A world renowned Artist-in-Residency program; a five-star inn with gallery space, a conference centre, and a heritage library; distinctive regional cuisine to make the area a unique culinary destination; access points to natural resources (trails, coasts, fish, birds, berries, icebergs) and cultural and heritage assets (boat building, gardening, cooking and preserving, fishing, quilting); investment in traditional island crafts and skills, such as wooden boat building; and, performance spaces and festivals for cultural events. Operating on the principles of social entrepreneurship, the Shorefast Foundation has a mandate to participate in the economic and social revitalization of Fogo Island and Change Islands. Any surpluses derived from Shorefast’s projects will be re-invested into the community. Since the investment announcement, Zita Cobb, President of Shorefast has been busy making good on their plans. With artist’s studios up and running, the five-star inn currently under construction, and various other initiatives already established, Shorefast is breathing new life into a place already incredibly rich in culture and history.


Get to know MUN Botanical Garden

MUN Botanical Garden representatives accept the Sustainable Tourism Award from Parks Canada. (l-r) Tim Walsh, Carol Sheedy (Parks Canada), Madonna Bishop, Charlotte Jewczyk, Anne Madden

Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden is a resource centre for basic and applied botanical research and education with a particular interest in the flora of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a registered charity and notfor-profit corporation, MUN Botanical Garden seeks to foster an appreciation of natural history in the development and future of the university and the province. MUN Botanical Garden received the Sustainable Tourism Award at HNL’s Tourism Excellence Awards Gala in 2011. The Sustainable Tourism Award is presented by HNL and Canadian Heritage/Parks Canada to the industry operator who has made strides in sustainable tourism practices and continually works toward the protection of our natural and cultural resources. Interview with MUN Botanical Garden Anne Madden, Education Coordinator, MUN Botanical Garden

Fall 2011

Tell us a little bit about MUN Botanical Garden and the type of environment you work in everyday. To most people, MUN Botanical Garden is a lovely area to hike nature trails, visit the flower gardens, go on a tour or drop by for a special event, such as the Potato Festival or Seniors’ Day. Unknown to most, this area of ‘natural beauty and tranquility’ was built on acres of burnt and/or garbage-filled land. Years of debris removal, flower bed construction, native plantings, habitat enhancement and trail construction have resulted in ‘The Garden’ we admire today. This work did not create just a pretty place. Plant species have been studied for their value as host and nectar sources for pollinating insects, including butterflies; native shrubs were planted as food sources for native birds and mammals; biodiversity was encouraged though habitat enhancement; we even built all our own soil through composting, and continue to do so today.


For me, the Garden is much more than just this wonderful place; it is also a part of our community. And to me, one of the most important parts of my community is the people. Not only do I meet visitors from all over the world but I get to know members of my community, including families, seniors, MUN students, farmers, artists, educators, scientists, and school children throughout the province. I also get to work closely with a fabulous group of co-workers, a board of directors and our volunteer group, the Friends of the Garden. While our team is small, it is dedicated, enthusiastic and most of all, passionate. Over the years, all these people have helped create, shape, build and continue to nurture the Botanical Garden and its programs of research and education.

MUN Botanical Garden has been around for a long time. Do you think the Garden is currently playing more of a role in the tourism industry than they previously did? Most definitely! As the only botanical garden in our province and also the only centre dedicated to botanical education, research and conservation in the province, the Botanical Garden continues to expand its role within the tourism industry. Not only are we a favorite destination for visitors interested in our provincial flora, fauna and horticulture, we have expanded our role as a botanical and horticultural resource within the tourism community. We are involved in an increasing number of community re-vegetation, habitat enhancement and Newfoundland heritage garden projects across the province. We look forward to continuing to share our resources and knowledge province-wide within the tourism sector. Visitors come to Newfoundland and Labrador for a unique experience; one which is directly linked to our cultural and natural heritage. We are very excited to be a part of that. What did winning the Sustainable Tourism Award mean to you and to an organization like MUN Botanical Garden? The staff and volunteers at MUN Botanical Garden feel winning the Sustainable Tourism Award in 2011 was a very fitting way to mark and celebrate our 40th anniversary. Our facility, originally named Oxen Pond Botanic Park, was created in 1971 on just 3 acres of garbage-strewn land. Since that time, our facility has grown, but continued in its mandate to be a centre of botanical and horticultural research, education and conservation. As we plan for our future, we have found that the process of looking back and reflecting on our development and growth has reaffirmed our commitment to our original mandate, which is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. Winning the award also provided a once-ina-lifetime opportunity for two staff members to participate in the Edge of the Wedge workshop at the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST). This was a phenomenal training experience. This program is designed to enhance the quality and sustainability of nature-based experiences through developmental training programs which respect sustainable tourism practices, experiential tourism services and ecoadventure tourism. What do you think is the biggest issue facing the future with respect to the natural beauty and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador? What do you think we can do, collectively as the tourism industry, to address it? I think the biggest issue today is the same issue we were faced with when the Botanical Garden started in 1971. Our local environment is very unique and fragile; it is irreplaceable. The sustainability of our local ecosystems and all its creatures is directly linked to our sustainability as a province and a culture. Yet, our knowledge of our local ecological systems is diminishing as our day-to-day connections to our natural world are decreasing. We have a responsibility to our future generations to ensure we maintain and foster this knowledge and expertise. As a society, we have to make certain that we have the capacity (i.e. current research, knowledge, expertise, resources, etc.) to utilize and protect our environment for years to come, while fully understanding the implications of our decisions and policy-making. I see the tourism industry addressing this issue today by providing training for local people within communities and also welcoming them as visitors to our local museums, national parks and nature centers. The tourism industry is also providing support for these centers. When individuals and families visit tourism facilities within the province, they take pride in, appreciate and value our wonderful culture and natural history. Similarly, trained staff also learn to value our province. The preservation of our lands and history is an ongoing process, one which I feel the tourism industry continues to play a key role.

Get to know riverwood inn You recently expanded from six rooms to 11 rooms proving that Newfoundland and Labrador is in demand. What is the best advice you could give a tourism operator who is looking to expand or improve upon their own business? Strive to deliver a top quality product and/or service as the current “market” desires higher end options. It might cost you more, but it will lead to better profits and long term ROI because you are matching your product with the expectation of the market. What did winning the H. Clayton Sparkes, Accommodator of the Year Award mean to you? Many thought I was “bonkers” when I decided to build a 4.5 star inn in Springdale but I knew that “if I built it they will come” so it was personally gratifying for me to get that level of provincial recognition for a not so wingnut idea. From a business perspective it firmly distinguishes Riverwood as an industry leader which ultimately delivers more guests to our door so I’m very pleased we received the distinction. Judy Sparkes-Giannou of Clayton Hospitality presents the H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award to Tracey Penney of Riverwood Inn

The Riverwood Inn is a 4.5 star luxury inn favorably nestled in a pristine valley along Indian River in Springdale, NL. Featuring the highest standards in accommodation comfort, décor and services, Riverwood Inn ensures guests will have distinct and memorable experiences. The Riverwood Inn received the H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award at HNL’s Tourism Excellence Awards Gala in 2011. The H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award is put forth by the Sparkes Family to recognize an individual or company in the accommodations sector within the province who exhibits a dedication to quality service, a commitment to the tourism industry and makes a solid contribution to the communities in which they live.

What do you think is the most important thing the tourism industry has to keep in mind as the industry develops and we become a more in demand destination of choice? Top quality in product and service is desired (and expected) by visitors from abroad so we as an industry need to ensure that the investment into the tourism infrastructure of the province is of a caliber that is at least 4 star because again that is what most travelers/tourists/visitors are seeking. Riverwood is a testament to this fact as it is the 4.5 star quality of the facility and service that that attracts the guests.

Interview with Riverwood Inn Chad Wells, Owner, Riverwood Inn Riverwood Inn is more than just a place to stay. What do you think is the most important aspect of providing guests with an “experience” rather than just a place to stay? A bona fide experience creates repeat customers which are essential to the growth and success of our business, not to mention what it means to all industry players in the region.

BIG ERICS INC. 99 Blackmarsh Road P.O. Box 6090 St. John’s, NL A1C 5X8 TEL: 709-579-2151 FAX: 709-576-6866


Fall 2011



Nominations are now being accepted for

Nominate a deserving business or individual for one of the following awards: • H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award • John Atkins & Co. Tourism Champion Award • Maxxim Vacations Tourism Business of the Year Award • Cal LeGrow Tourism Innovator of the Year Award • Corporate Partner of the Year Award • PRIDE Award Sponsored by the Bed and Breakfast Association of Newfoundland and Labrador • Norman Parsons Memorial Award Sponsored by the Bed and Breakfast Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

The Tourism Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements of the tourism industry. Giving recognition through the awards program is a way to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication required to succeed in the tourism industry. Anyone can be nominated for an award and self-nominations are also welcome! Awards are presented at HNL’s Annual Conference and Trade Show To submit an award nomination please send the name of the person or business you wish to nominate, and the award you wish to nominate them for to

Fall 2011

Deadline for submission is Friday, January 6, 2012.


For more information on the Tourism Excellence Awards, please go to accepting-nominations-for-the-tourism-industryexcellence-awards/

• The Cruise Vision Award Sponsored by the Cruise Association of Newfoundland and Labrador • Restaurateur of Year Award Sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador • Cultural Tourism Award Sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Canadian Heritage and Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador • Sustainable Tourism Award Sponsored by Parks Canada and Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador • Tourism Atlantic Technology Award Sponsored by Tourism Atlantic – ACOA • Doug Wheeler Award Sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

what sponsors have to say about HNL’s Tourism Excellence Awards

“Quality, service, and community contribution were all very important to my father, hotelier, H. Clayton Sparkes. It is with these attributes in mind that the Sparkes family is pleased to recognize accommodators through the Tourism Excellence Awards who hold similar attributes near and dear when providing travelers with a place to rest their head.” – Judy Sparkes-Giannou, Clayton Hospitality

“With 15 years of experience in the tourism industry, I am well aware of the unique experiences Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer visitors. Newfoundland and Labrador offers an uncommon tourism experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. I have worked with many tourism companies including Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, and am proud to support the industry through the Tourism Excellence Awards. It’s a good fit; it’s one of the things we’re passionate about.” – John Atkins, John Atkins & Co

“Cal LeGrow has always valued the creativity and commitment that the tourism industry in our province displays in delivering the Newfoundland and Labrador story and experience with the rest of the world. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to celebrate the innovative approaches that are taking place in this dynamic industry.” – Rod Vatcher, Cal LeGrow

Fall 2011

Contributing to HNL’s Tourism Excellence Awards is important to me personally as someone who wants to see the tourism industry grow, as well as see people recognized for their efforts. There are so many aspects of operating a good business which is why I’m delighted to sponsor to The Tourism Business of the Year Award. The strength of Maxxim Vacations product in Newfoundland and Labrador is dependent on a collective of great businesses throughout the province. I hope that recognizing their efforts through this award program will be further motivation for us all to keep raising the bar in this great industry.” – Jill Curran, Maxxim Vacations


Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market: Outlook 2020

Fall 2011

Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market: Outlook 2020. The year 2020 is a significant year for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. Uncommon Potential: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (Vision 2020) is working towards the ultimate goal of doubling tourism revenues by 2020. However, to be successful, it will take more than bringing more people to the province. Developing our workforce is outlined in Vision 2020 as one of the seven strategic directions required for the achievement of the lofty but very achievable ultimate goal. Even before Vision 2020, tourism operators concerns were growing about labour shortages and how such shortages would affect the growth of their businesses and in some cases their ability to even open the doors. In recent weeks, the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment released Newfoundland and Labrador Market: Outlook 2020. The document serves as a forecast of the province’s labour demands for the next decade and outlines the opportunities that will exist in numerous business sectors. To view the complete Newfoundland and Labrador Market: Outlook 2020, please visit, publications/LMOutlook2020.pdf Some of the highlights from Outlook 2020 that are noteworthy for tourism operators include:


Employment Growth It is anticipated that total employment will grow by 2.8% from 2011 to 2020, representing approximately 7,700 new jobs in the economy. Employment is expected to grow by 8.2% to reach a peak in 2015 as planned major project developments come on stream. This will be followed by a decline of approximately -5.1% between 2016 and 2020 as the construction phase of the projects ramp down. The services-producing sector will continue to dominate employment and employment growth in the years ahead. The goods-producing sector will grow by 10.7% between 2011 and 2015 followed by a period of decline (2016 to 2020) as construction work on major project developments winds down. Current Trends in Employment and the Labour Force Employment has grown to record level highs in Newfoundland and Labrador and the number of people in the labour force each year, either working or looking for work, is higher than ever. New job creation has grown faster than the number of new job seekers entering the workforce - a signal that labour market conditions are beginning to “tighten” and that unemployment levels are declining. Women have been the driving force behind new employment and labour force growth.

Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market: Outlook 2020 Working-Age Population Population aging and population decline will have a significant impact on the future labour supply in Newfoundland and Labrador, and elsewhere throughout the world. The population 65 years and older has been growing rapidly. Between 2011 and 2020 it is expected that this older population will grow by 44.7% to represent 26% of all working-age people (those 15 years and older). In comparison, 15 to 24 year-olds will represent just 11% of the working-age population in 2020. Age of the Workforce Over 41% of workers in Newfoundland and Labrador were 45 years old or older in 2005. Only 15.5% were among the 15 to 24 years old age group. Industries with the highest proportion of young workers (15 to 24 years old) included the retail trade; accommodations and food services; arts and recreation; and administrative and support services sectors. Seasonality and the Duration of Work Newfoundland and Labrador has the largest share of workers employed in full-time jobs in the country. On average, workers in this province also tend to work more hours per week than workers elsewhere in Canada. The highly seasonal nature of the provincial economy has a significant influence on the duration of employment in Newfoundland and Labrador. This province has the highest share of part-year workers in the country, largely due to the impacts of seasonal work in the primary and construction industries as well as service industries, such as the accommodation and food services and arts and recreation industries. The average number of weeks worked per year in Newfoundland and Labrador has been increasing however. The average length of time people remain unemployed during the year has been decreasing and is now lower than the Canadian average. Wages Wages and annual employment incomes have been steadily rising in all regions of the province. In 2010, workers in the goods-producing sector had higher weekly wages on average than workers in the overall economy.

Under-represented Groups Under-represented groups and those not in the workforce today will play an increasingly important role in helping to meet future labour demands. Many of these groups continue to face employment challenges and barriers, including women; persons with disabilities; Aboriginal groups; youth; and mature workers. Among working-age people not in the labour force today, about 26% are retirees, 19% have a permanent disability that prohibits them from working, and 17% are in school. Professionalizing the tourism industry helps provide a new level of quality and service to travellers to the province. Certification is available in various tourism occupations. For more information on certification for you or your staff please contact HNL’s Learning Support Coordinator, Jordan Dicks at Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador congratulates the following individuals on recently completing their certifications: Lisa Davis Food and Beverage Manager (FBM) Comfort Inn Airport Betty Coombs Front Desk Agent (FDA) Mount Peyton Hotel Maureen Hollett Front Desk Agent (FDA) Mount Peyton Hotel Marilyn Lane Front Desk Agent (FDA) Mount Peyton Hotel

Fall 2011

Immigration Immigration will play a significant role in helping grow the labour force and meet job demands throughout most jurisdictions,

particularly in highly skilled and hard to fill positions. After a period of decline in the early 2000’s, immigration to Newfoundland and Labrador has been on the rise, growing by almost 68% since 2003. Immigrants that move to Newfoundland and Labrador tend to work in more highly-skilled occupations such as those in social science, education, government service, and religion; and natural and applied sciences.

Industry professionals receive certifications at HNL’s Annual Conference and Trade Show


Marine Atlantic’s report card of success Marine Atlantic Inc. has had to grow a thick skin over the years. Complaints ranging from decrepit vessels to poor schedules to insufficient services made this important transportation link one of the biggest challenges facing the tourism industry. Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador lobbied the federal government at every corner to help advocate for investment in this valuable transportation infrastructure for the tourism industry. In 2010, the federal government announced an investment of $521 million dollars over a five year period to improve the amenities of Marine Atlantic. No time was wasted. Since the funding announcement, Marine Atlantic has chartered two vessels and retrofit them to accommodate the unique needs of travellers to and from the province, completed an extensive upgrade of the MV Leif Ericson to ensure reliability, developed a more effective reservation system, made changes to its sailing schedule and focused on customer service in a way they have never done before. Recently, Marine Atlantic Inc. released their 2011 Stakeholder Report Card, Summer of Success. The report card outlines the changes Marine Atlantic Inc. has made and the impact it has had on customers. Noteworthy numbers include: • Significant improvement in on-time performance; from 59 per cent in 2010 to 91 per cent in 2011 (See Graph 1 - Ontime Performance). • Ease of access to a reservation; available up to the time of departure on 99 per cent of sailings. • Overall satisfaction is up, with 74 per cent of customers highly satisfied compared with 51 per cent in 2010 (See Graph 2 – Customer Satisfaction).

Fall 2011

A shot from the bridge of the MV Atlantic Vision


A few of the helpful staff onboard the MV Atlantic Vision

• Marine Atlantic met or exceeded the expectations of 92 per cent of passengers. • 93 per cent of customers are likely to recommend Marine Atlantic to friends or family. • Wait times for commercial customers were significantly better; reduced by 63 per cent. • 28 per cent more customers travelled between Argentia and North Sydney, and 87 per cent of Argentia passengers were highly satisfied compared with 52 per cent in 2010. • Additional cabins were in high demand, with 25 per cent more sold than in 2010 (See Graph 3 – Cabins Sold). HNL and NL Tourism Board members were recently given the opportunity to participate in a fam (familiarization) tour to the west coast of Newfoundland and make the crossing from Port aux Basques to North Sydney on the MV Atlantic Vision. The changes made were obvious and none were more obvious that the attention to customer service given to passengers by the staff. In conversations with staff, it was easy to detect a new sense of pride and purpose. Marine Atlantic still has work to do. While progress has been made, they understand that further improvements and changes can be made to ensure the experience is even better, particularly as it relates to scheduling in the peak tourism season. They also understand the importance of continuing to listen to travellers so they can continue to meet and exceed expectations. But for now, congratulations are in order! To Marine Atlantic’s Summer of Success! To view a complete copy of Marine Atlantic’s Summer of Success, please visit:

HNL Board members and staff have dinner with MV Atlantic Vision Captain

Vessel on-time performance

customer satisfaction

number of cabins sold

AIR MILES Reward Program ®†

Fall 2011

C hoose


communication is key – NL Tourism Board

Vision 2020 Roadshow participants share ideas

Fall 2011

Since the release of Uncommon Potential: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (Vision 2020) in 2009, the tourism industry has undergone tremendous change and growth. Research shows that we are making steady progress in reaching Vision 2020’s goal of doubling annual tourism revenues by 2020. There is much to celebrate about the progress we have made to date. With the recent mandate changes of our Destination Marketing Organizations to Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), increased focus and resources allocated to our own industry-specific research, significant improvement to our marine services, enhanced training opportunities, the development of quality assurance standards and a market readiness pilot program, continued success of our awardwinning provincial marketing campaign and the list goes on. It is now, more than ever, important for us to celebrate our collective success as


It’s hard to escape technology!

well as learn how to improve upon it moving forward. With such an influx of new activity, we must ensure that all stakeholders are kept abreast of what is happening and what they can do to help. As such, in 2011, the NL Tourism Board held a roadshow to bring together stakeholders. Now the NL Tourism Board will be producing a quarterly newsletter communicating our success stories, the statistical research available, and the ongoing progress within the tourism industry. Each newsletter will contain a ‘research corner’; a sharing of study results and statistics directly related to our own industry. It will also highlight the role of technology and how technology adoption and training is a priority in the tourism industry. The goal of the newsletter will be to provide relevant information and research that plays a role in your organization, business or decision making process as well as keep you abreast of ongoing initiatives and developments. The NL Tourism Board is comprised of members from HNL, the five DMOs, Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The NL Tourism Board is the first of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador; a true collaborative partnership with the sole focus of looking at the industry as a whole and taking a collective approach to guiding the industry. It is the sum of all the parts of the tourism industry rather than any one voice. For more information on Vision 2020 and the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board please visit

Vision 2020 Roadshow visits Grand Falls-Windsor, NL

new members

HNL Board of Directors John Dicks Rod Pike Rex Avery Todd Wight Annette Parsons Darlene Thomas Jill Curran Rick Stanley Cathy Lomond Greg Fleming Mary Hayes

Chair Vice-Chair Secretary/Treasurer Director Director Director Director Director Restaurant Association Hotel/Motel Association Bed & Breakfast Association

(Full board contact information available at

Staff Listing Carol-Ann Gilliard Chief Executive Officer Juanita Ford Lynn Taylor

Manager, Workforce and Industry Development Manager of Policy and Communications

Karen So


Craig Foley


Lexie Mckenzie

Membership Services Coordinator

Jordan Dicks Learning Support Susan Greene Membership Administrative Coordinator Michelle Burke

Events and Marketing Coordinator

Krista Sweetland

Workforce Development Coordinator

Melissa Ennis

Workforce Development Coordinator

Scott Penney Training Coordinator Lisa McDonald

Tourism Board Manager

Head Office 71 Goldstone Street (Suite 102) St. John’s, NL A1B 5C3 Tel: (709) 722-2000 Toll Free: 1-800-563-0700 Tourism Times is printed four times per year

Desktop Layout Image 4 Digital Printing & Design Inc. 1170 Topsail Road, Mount Pearl, NL A1N 5E8 T: 709-747-3850 E: W:

For all the latest up-to-date information and news, please visit Updated daily! 1010 Sherbrooke Ouest Montreal, QC H3A 2R7 Contact: Delia Rico 514-228-4004 Best View Efficiency Units P.O. Box 289 Bay Bulls, NL A0A 1C0 Contact: Mr. Don Maloney 709-334-1179

Fortune Harbour View Bed and Breakfast P.O. Box 580 74 Eldon Street Fortune, NL A0E 1P0 Contact: Mr. Brian Rose (709) 832-7666 Cupids Legacy Centre P.O. Box 210 368 Seaforest Drive Cupids, NL A0A 2B0 Contact: Claudine Garland (709) 528-1610

Splash -n- Putt Cabins P.O. Box 42 Glovertown, NL A0G 2L0 Contact: Avalon Sparkes (709) 533-2753 John Dicks Tourism Consulting 32 Paddy Dobbin Drive St. John’s, NL A1A 4V7 Contact: John Dicks (709) 691-2869 Triton Sperm Whale Pavilion (Tourism Triton) P.O. Box 10 Triton, NL A0J 1V0 Contact: Sandy Winsor 709-263-2264

HNL’s webinar series is back! Exclusive to HNL members: A new season of HNL Webinar Series has begun. These monthly webinars give members an opportunity to gain information and discuss relevant topics that influence their business. Keep watching www. for upcoming webinars. Join the discussion!

For more information, contact Michelle Burke Events and Marketing Coordinator 709-722-2000 ext 230

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Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL), the provincial Tourism Industry Association, is focused on advocacy, education, the adaptation of innovative technology and the promotion of a strong member network. Through forward thinking and fostering the growth of its members, HNL continues to be the leader of the tourism industry in the province. For information on membership, please contact

Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is supported by the tourism industry and

Spring 2011

Tourism Times is a quarterly publication of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL). Opinions expressed by contributers and advertisers do not necessarily represent those of HNL.

Eastport Peninsula Heritage Society P.O. Box 136 Eastport, NL A0G 1Z0 Contact: Yvette Mahaney (709) 677-2360


2012 annual conference and trade show February 23-25, 2012, Gander, nl

Delegates enjoy Casino Night at Club One

Marine Atlantic presentation

Mark your calendar!

Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Recreation

Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s Annual Conference and Trade Show is coming to Gander, NL February 23rd - 25th, 2012. Join leaders of the industry for the largest gathering of tourism stakeholders in the province. HNL’s conference will focus on empowering all tourism stakeholders with the knowledge and tools they need to both participate in and profit from the collaborative effort being exerted by the tourism industry and its partners in Newfoundland and Labrador. Hear from industry leaders, partners and experts provide guidance on all things tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. As always, the conference and trade show will offer an exclusive venue for tourism organizations, partners and suppliers to connect, do business and learn. From the conference opening to the grand finale – The Tourism Excellence Awards Gala – if you are in tourism, you need to be at HNL! Details coming soon at

Delegates enjoy Fun Night at The Rooms

College of the North Atlantic students enjoy Casino Night at Club One

Marine Atlantic’s Cyber Café

Wayne Parsons and Reg Williams entertain delegates during the Official Kick-Off

HNL Chair John Dicks and Minister Terry French

Trade Show exhibitor Greg Hillier speaking with delegate

Tourism Times Fall 2011  

Newsletter of the tourism industry association of NL

Tourism Times Fall 2011  

Newsletter of the tourism industry association of NL