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Newsletter of the Tourism Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador


Summer 2012

Parks Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador receives HNL’s 2012 Ambassador of Hospitality Award In photo: Darlene Thomas, HNL Chair and Jeff Anderson, Superintendent of the Parks Canada Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit

Summer 2012

Let there be light!


A few months ago, my husband sat across from me during our regularly scheduled Saturday morning Baconfest and suggested we ‘put a few potlights in the rec room’. After he outlined a brief scenario of what this project would entail, I was on board, thinking that this would be a nice little project for us. Two weeks later, after returning from a few days away, I went downstairs and Carol-Ann Gilliard there was nothing in the CEO, Hospitality Newfoundland basement. Oh, ‘nothing’ is and Labrador an exaggeration, really…I mean, the HVAC and hot water boiler were still there. Furniture, pictures, walls, studs, carpet, subfloor, ceiling, strapping. Gone. All gone. We were back to the foundation. In my stunned emotional state, I clamored back up the stairs and, in an eerily calm and rational voice, I asked what had happened in the basement. He looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, “What? I’m putting in potlights.” Never before have I had such a moment of clarity on the importance of effective communication skills! Obviously, my interpretation of this project and his interpretation were worlds apart and I could not understand how we had gotten to this point. I mean, we had chatted about the project and I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what needed to be done! George Bernard Shaw said that “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Obviously, I can attest to this. So, as I am apt to do when I am in such situations, I figured it might be time for a refresher on my communication skills. Even though communication skills are the most utilized skills at work and in our personal lives, we rarely pay attention to how effectively we are communicating our ideas and messages. When was the last time you asked yourself “How effective was my communication in this situation”? I suspect most of us will answer not recently and a few will answer never. Despite the fact that practicing good communication is the foundation of being successful in our personal and professional lives, the fact that building interpersonal relationships is a core strategy in achieving goals and dreams, and the fact that we are required to use all of our communication skills every single day, we rarely put focus into honing these skills like we do for most other skills we want to master. After looking into it, I think I figured out where I might have gone wrong with the potlights. The only way to fully receive the message that a person is sending you is to practice active listening, which is a step beyond just simply listening. Active listening is not just listening with your ears but listening with your eyes and body. Eye contact, focus, reflection techniques and turning your body towards the person speaking, for example, all help build a good setting for active listening. There are many ways that we are distracted from actively listening…for example, we may have our own agenda when we are communicating with others. The urge to rush through a conversation because you want it to go in a certain direction distracts us from hearing what the other person is saying, how they are saying it and what their face and body positioning is telling us. Another barrier is that we might be experiencing information

overload. We live in a multi-tasking world and we have many demands on our attention. We may just be distracted by our surroundings or emotions. The things happening around us and how we are feeling at a particular point in time can have a big impact on how well we are able to focus on active listening. In interpersonal relationships, active listening skills are the difference between negative and positive experiences. That old saying, “the person who speaks the most learns the least” is very true. The person that focuses on listening has an advantage to learn more than the person who is speaking. Using this advantage enables you to get a deeper appreciation of what is truly being said and, in turn, make the appropriate response. Right now, most of you are operating in the busy peak of your season and scarcely have a moment to take a break. With the increased customer demand of the summer period, so too comes the importance of building interpersonal relationships with our guests. For many travellers, the best memories of a trip to Newfoundland and Labrador are the interpersonal exchanges they have with us locals as we go about our everyday lives. Now, more than ever, it is important that we consciously strive to be good communicators and actively listen in our exchanges with travellers. It is easy for us to get distracted as we frantically rush around to get things done but it is so much easier to make a personal connection up front with a customer, learn what it is they expect out of their Newfoundland and Labrador vacation and then deliver on their expectations. Maybe on that Saturday morning when we were having the conversation about potlights, I was only partially focused on the conversation, especially the part where he warned that until we start opening things up in the basement, we won’t exactly know what we’re dealing with. I‘m pretty sure there was a part of me concentrating on those perfect strips of bacon in the middle of the table at the time he was communicating this vital message. I was also likely experiencing information overload…we have all been there: end of a busy week, trying to sort through the tasks of the day ahead, phone ringing. All of these things might have contributed to the distraction that prevented me from seeing that ‘potlights’ actually might mean ‘full-on basement reno’. Or maybe I just had my own personal agenda. I won’t deny that the thought did cross my mind that a minor potlight installation was more palpable than the project I knew he really wanted to take on (i.e. said reno). But in the moment, I chose to let my own personal interpretation and agenda, based on limited communication, end a conversation before it went to a place that I did not want it to go. I guess the bottomline is that there is no lazy way to achieve effective communication! It requires a lot of upfront effort and energy but saves you from potentially bigger conflicts down the road. Now, I have to say, I am pretty pleased with our response to this ‘potlights-gone-wrong’ reality show that our lives have become since that fateful ‘conversation’. By using active listening and (for the most part) good communication skills, I finally understand why we diverged so far from our original course. In starting the basement project, he discovered a crack in the foundation and in searching for the root of that problem, uncovered a multitude of other issues. Finding the crack in our foundation now while it is still relatively minor has saved us from much bigger problems in the future. I am pleased to say that a few days ago, I was taken of my first official tour of the basement. The first thing I noticed: Let there be light! We have potlights!

True Colours the 2009 recession better than any other destination in Canada, so we can’t stop now. Sustainability is talked about a lot in the tourism industry, often from the perspective of ensuring we take care of the environment in which we operate – our oceans, wildlife, forests, and all other natural wonders that makes this place special. But now we have to look internally, we have to make sure that we, our organizations, are sustainable. So what does that mean? Now more than ever, we have to look at the inner workings of our own operations and not only figure out how to deliver on what travelers want, but also how to do it with less. This is a time where less really has to be more. At HNL’s Conference in February, the idea of destination development was talked about at several sessions. Destination development is the process of identifying key attractions and building “priority” tourism products and services to ensure the delivery of a quality tourism experience. The changes that will be made through this process will make us more attractive to out of province travelers but also to resident travelers. It will give people new reasons to come here and it will give all of us, new reasons to explore our own backyard. As we move through this process, we have to be our own worst critics. We have done many things well, but we must continue to look at the big picture, because it looks very different than it used to and it could change again at any moment. We must look to ourselves, what can we do, how can we contribute, are there changes we can make? And, without question, the most important thing we can all do is work together. As our friends and colleagues at Parks Canada and other departments go through the difficult task of reprioritizing, so too must all of our organizations. The fiscal challenges are not the only ones ahead. A national labour crisis is also looming amongst other issues that will affect the way we do business, so we really cannot afford to rest on our laurels. This is not the same environment in which we used to operate, and it may never be again! And so, we change. We should be looking at the opportunities - the opportunities of destination development, the opportunities to make changes for ourselves. Use HNL, use your regional DMO, use whatever you have at your disposal to ensure your business is sustainable. We are all in the same boat and we can all work to help each other but we must rely on one another’s knowledge and skills to keep ourselves above the bar that we have collectively raised. Our wonderful ads continue to attract attention, and people are coming. But when they get here, what will their experience be? It’s up to us. We have to think positively and act proactively. As Randy Taylor, motivational speaker, says, “Where we are now has nothing to do with where we can go.” So, where can we go? We know we can go far, just wait until they see our true colours!

Summer 2012

Has there ever been a period where the times were not a-changing!? I ask myself this question everyday when I wake up to face another dynamic day in the tourism industry. Tourism in general is dynamic, you never know what travelers you’ll meet, what experiences you’ll have and where the next day is headed. But, as business owners and operators it is our job to forecast, plan and implement to the best Darlene Thomas of our ability if we are to be Chair, Hospitality Newfoundland successful. and Labrador For many of us, our ability to predict our own future is reliant upon many uncontrollable factors around us. Sometimes the most unpredictable of all, the weather, can make or break a perfectly planned season. So, while we must plan, we must also be ready to change at a moment’s notice. When we are given lemons, like the bad weather of summer 2011, we have no choice but to make lemonade. Let’s talk about some potential challenges this year...Recently the federal government made significant cuts to Parks Canada, Regional Economic Development Boards and other government programs that may have widespread impacts in this province. While little comfort can be taken in the fact that most provinces in Canada will feel their own level of pain from these cuts, at least we know we are not alone. In the case of Parks Canada, throughout the country this agency is responsible for some of the most important natural and cultural attractions that we have here in Canada as a travel destination. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Gros Morne, Terra Nova and the Torngats, along with the many other national historic sites, have provided tourism operators with a foundation on which to build a business plan. But even those of us who are not in close proximity to a National Park or site know that these products help sell Newfoundland and Labrador, and in turn, help sell all of us. As the tourism industry, we have legitimate reason to be upset about the recent Parks Canada cuts and other changes, but should we really be surprised? The federal government has been talking about cuts to the public service and while we crossed our fingers and hoped those cuts would not hit home, we knew that the chances were high that everyone in every industry would get caught in the cross fire at some point. In these times of fiscal restraint, one thing is certain, now is the time to show them what tourism is really made of! The tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador has touted proudly that we made it through

Members of the NL Tourism Board discuss tourism initiatives during a panel discussion in Corner Brook (l-r): Stan Cook Jr., Darlene Thomas, Maria Matthews, and Peter Antle



RIVERFRONT CHALETS AND RAFTING Riverfront Chalets and Rafting was awarded the 2012 Sustainable Tourism Award at the 2012 HNL Conference. 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. Riverfront Chalets and Rafting operates 4.5 star chalets and guided rafting tours on the Exploits River. Riverfront Chalets and Rafting is located in Aspen Brook, NL and is operated by Paul and Joy Rose.

Interview with Riverfront Chalets and Rafting 2012 Sustainable Tourism Award recipient The Exploits River is a treasure in central Newfoundland. How did you come to see its potential as a destination for summer and winter activities? Moving water always interested me and as a child I spent a lot of time around the river throwing in sticks and watching how the current affected them. That interest has never left me. I got my first white water kayak at 17 years of age and have been addicted to paddling ever since. There is no better way to spend a day! In 1997, I had an opportunity to purchase an old 18 foot white water raft and began thinking of the possibilities. It took off from there! Today we take down almost 2000 people in our short season. People ask me if I ever get sick of it. The answer is always a confident no. It is rewarding and fun work that I expect I will still be working at for a long time yet. The snowmobiling tours came later after the chalets. We are in the perfect spot here with Hodges Hills offering a long winter season from early January until mid-April. We are blessed with two peak seasons now.

Summer 2012

What changes have you made or what practices have you implemented into your business since opening your doors in 1997 that has ensured you are protecting the environment in which you operate? Although our rafting business has virtually no impact on the environmental health of the river (other than simply our presence), there are other pressures on the river that have a huge negative impact. All we have to do is “pack it in pack it out”. However, other industries such as logging, mining, forestry, hydro-electricity and open gravel pits have all been proposed and some have been granted on the banks of or on major tributaries of the Exploits. It seems to have become an ongoing effort to protect the river from these threats which takes up a considerable amount of time and money on our part. In 2010 we started a “Save the Exploits River” campaign in attempt to build public support to protect the river from a recent proposal for an open gravel pit right on the bank of the Exploits River just up from the chalets and across from where we eat lunch on our trips. We started a Facebook page and in less than 4 days we had 4200 followers and nearly 300 letters of protest sent to government. To this day a decision has not been reached so I guess that is good and we had an impact. One thing that was accomplished through our efforts though is that the provincial government will not be awarding anymore gravel pit permits within view of the TCH or major access roads. This alone was well worth the effort!


Equally as difficult and time consuming are efforts to develop the Exploits for its huge tourism potential. If this river were anywhere else in the world as it exists right here it would be much more utilized for tourism, and protected for such. It’s only a matter of time before we realize what we could, and should, have though. Hopefully sooner than later there will

Paul & Joy Rose of Riverfront Chalets & Rafting with the Sustainable Tourism Award(photo credit-Krysta Colbourne)

be bungee jumping off the bridge in Grand Falls-Windsor, big water rafting trips in the canyon, a world class canoe camping park along the length, annual canoe races, etc. I have paddled rivers across Canada and the States and I know we have an untapped world class river here with accessibility that is difficult to find anywhere else. What does winning the Sustainable Tourism Award mean to you? It is a huge honor to receive an award of such magnitude. I don’t think I realized the importance of this award until after we received it! We would never have received this award without the help of so many people though, particularly both provincial and federal departments such as ACOA, IBRD, TCR and many other advisors throughout the development of the company today. I should mention the department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation in particular. I suspect they are growing tired of me asking for advice and help but without the guidance and assistance of the department, I would likely not be running this business. I appreciate everything they have done for us! What advice would you give a business that wants to be more sustainable in their business practices? Make it a priority! It is not only rewarding, but necessary. As an industry, what is the one thing you feel all business owners and operators need to focus on if we are to grow as a destination? Most of all we have to realize the potential in our natural environment. Newfoundland and Labrador is considered an exotic destination worldwide. We hire guides from all over the world and it is no trouble to get them to come here. We get numerous applications from world class, highly trained guides who can probably work anywhere they want, but Newfoundland is becoming a “bucket list” for river guides. Our clean rivers, numerous large lakes, rugged coastline and outport culture are what make us an exotic destination and we are so fortunate to have this. Quality and service are key.


Hotel North is located in St. Anthony and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL and is operated by Lloyd and Judy Hillier.

Lloyd & Judy Hillier of Hotel North accept the H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award from Bruce Sparkes & Judy Sparkes-Giannou

Hotel North was awarded the 2012 H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award at the 2012 HNL Conference. Put forth by the Sparkes Family in recognition of the contribution their father made to the tourism industry in Newfoundland & Labrador, this award recognizes 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.

You have invested quite alot of time and money into your three hotels, one in St. Anthony and two in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, to bring the standards of quality and service to a whole new level. How have you managed to prioritize your needs with the demands of your customers? St. Anthony was bought without us seeing the property. After seeing the property, we felt in order to maintain the Quality, Service and Cleanliness that Hotel North has always enforced, there was no alternative but to fully renovate, purchase new furniture, new linens etc. The Hotel was at a 1 Star rating and is now a 3.5 Star. Hotel North Two needed many upgrades as well in order to bring the rating from a 2 Star to the current 3.5 Star. The additional 30 rooms at Hotel North Two also allow the Hotel to be better suited for accommodating conferences. Hotel North has consistently maintained a 3.5 Star rating for the past nine years. Although Hotel North has been a member of HNL for a number of years, 2012 was the first year you have ever attended HNL’s Conference. Was it a valuable experience and what were some of the things you took away from the event? After growing from 54 rooms to 169 rooms  over the past three years we thought it would be a great opportunity to meet other Hoteliers and to bring some of our Management to the Conference for further development. Personally, the power of branding was a great impact. What does winning the H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award mean to you? After receiving this award it showed us that people in the Industry are noticing our efforts and motivated us even more to continue striving for excellence. Our entire team took great pride in this award. What advice would you give a business that wants to improve the customer experience?   To provide Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value to our Guest. If we can meet these expectations our Guest will keep coming back. As an industry, what is the one thing you feel all business owners and operators need to focus on if we are to grow as a destination?  To be consistent in providing a positive experience for every customer. I realize you will never satisfy 100%, but let’s strive for that.

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


Summer 2012




O’BRIEN’S WHALE AND BIRD TOURS O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours have been a member of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador for over 25 years. Since opening their doors in 1985, brothers Loyola and Joe have worked to ensure the O’Brien’s experience remains relevant to today’s travelers and of a quality they can be proud of! O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours is located in Bay Bulls, NL.

Interview with O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours

Summer 2012

How has O’Brien’s Whale and Bird tours evolved from the operation it was in 1985 to the operation it is today? In 1985 we started out not knowing if the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve would be an attraction or not but when we got out there, suddenly whales began appearing alongside of the boat, and the passenger’s attention went from the birds to the whales, showing us that we had two great attractions for tourists. But the following year, we had an iceberg, and a new attraction on the tour. The evolution continued as we took our love of music and incorporated our own talent as a way to put our customers in a good mood and keep them entertained as we made our way out onto the water. The music was infectious, and we often had a little dance on the boat coming into the harbor which was a great experience for people to have whales, birds, icebergs, song, and dance, and an overall great experience. Articles were written about us, like the one from The Globe & Mail, which named O’Brien’s as one of the best tourist bargains in Canada. Since the birds and the whales are fairly consistent in showing up, and we can always rely on the beauty of the coastline, we have been able to regularly offer great experiences for people. Our season extended from May 1 to September 30 and has grown every year for a number of years. Competition was also a factor for O’Brien’s and we have had to stay on our toes as the industry expanded. In 1996 we opened a restaurant offering soup and sandwiches but we soon found out customers wanted more Newfoundland flare; fish and chips, pan fried cod, cod tongues, lobster. So we added a full service restaurant and food service operation with a deck overlooking the harbor and it has been a great complement to our boat tour experience. In 2001, we purchased a 12 passenger zodiac to view the coastline which allows people to go from a larger passenger vessel to one with smaller numbers, and go a little faster as well to give a speed factor; wind blowing your hair, fresh sea air. The Spout, a geyser on the East Coast Trail, is the final destination and a real treat for those that have never seen it. So, our operation has really evolved around our guests and we have gone from six employees to 35. We have adapted to the sophisticated clientele of travelers to meet all of their needs; everything from their first contact with us via phone, email, Facebook, and Twitter, to any details they request to meet their varied needs and budgets. Every guest is unique, and we are flexible in packaging a tour for them that reflects each individual guest.


What is the biggest thing that has changed about the tourism industry in the last 25 years? There are a couple of things that have changed quite a bit in the last 25 years. One is the shear growth of the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. While we have grown by leaps and bounds, on a global scale, we’re just a dart on the wall. So, to compete in a global market, word of mouth is very important, which turns into positive growth for the tourism industry. Another major change is technology. It is everywhere from making reservations to advertising, brochures, fax, email, Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc. A knowledge and use of technology is required not only to

O’Brien’s Whale and Boat Tours take to the bay!

keep up with the latest marketing trends, but to service your customers properly. How have the demands and needs of travelers/customers changed in the last 25 years? For us, the demands and needs haven’t changed very much in that most people that come out for a boat tour are not making reservations very far in advance; they make them day-of, and some don’t make reservations at all because they want to plan their day- no long term plans. That being said, we have expanded to ensure we meet customer needs and to ensure we offer a complete experience, not just a boat tour. So, the restaurant, the shuttle services, the private boat tour and Coastal Adventure options are all ways we have adapted to deliver what travelers are demanding. What advice would you give a new business entering the adventure tourism sector? A lot of people look to tourism as a growth sector with high potential, which is true, but it does have its challenges. Many businesses are still seasonal so, it’s tough to find workers, especially since families have gotten smaller. Where the O’Brien’s were a family of three brothers and three sisters, nowadays most families have one or two children which means the pressure for the kids to work to support their education, or their family is not as great as it was years ago because the money is already there for kids in many cases. Most of the work in tourism businesses has to be done by the business owners. O’Brien’s is a seasonal business and with a short season, so, we have to make enough in that short season to sustain us throughout the entire 12 months. That can be very challenging and stressful. For operators who are retired or taking it on part-time, a tourism business may be great! Who wouldn’t want to an opportunity to meet other people and add a little extra income while still having time to enjoy retirement? But, for those who are taking it on to support their livelihood, be careful and do your homework because there are challenges and the return may or may not be as great as you think. That said, keep in mind that you get out of it what you put into it and always believe in yourself and your idea. And along the way, don’t be afraid to embrace change! What is the most valuable thing about being involved with HNL? Why are you still involved with HNL? The most valuable thing about being involved with HNL is having such a strong team of friends and network of colleagues. Everyone you meet just makes you stronger, as does being a part of a team.



Fortune Harbour View Bed and Breakfast is located in Fortune, at the southern tip of the Burin Peninsula. You joined HNL shortly after opening your doors. Why did you feel that it was important to become a member of HNL? I chose to join HNL because I wanted to be among other industry leaders that were leading and growing our industry. It allowed me to be instantly connected and networked with other professionals across Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, I wanted to participate and help our industry grow.

From your perspective, how have the demands and needs of travelers/ customers changed and how are you managing your business to ensure you are delivering what they want? My customers are looking for experiences rather than just “seeing or doing  things”. They want to taste, touch, smell  etc.  They want to experience something that they have never done before. They want lasting memories. I try to keep ahead of industry trends by participating in industry events and listening to my clients. What advice would you give a new business entering the Bed and Breakfast sector? Be prepared to work hard but make sure you are having fun.   What is the most valuable thing about being involved with HNL? Having access to industry members and being able to share their knowledge.

Summer 2012

Fortune Harbour View Bed & Breakfast

Operating since 2007, Fortune Harbour View Bed and Breakfast has been dedicated to showcasing traditional Newfoundland hospitality  while delivering modern products and services that enhance the traveler experience. A few years after opening their doors, Fortune Harbour View Bed and Breakfast became a member of HNL and owner/operator Brian Rose now serves on HNL’s Membership Committee.

As someone who is relatively new to the tourism industry, what inspired you to get into the business of tourism? My parents operated a restaurant in Fortune for 12 years during my teenage years. They served a lot of customers that were travelling to St. Pierre. I worked with them during the summer and enjoyed meeting people from all parts of the world. After high school, I attended Memorial University of Newfoundland.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity during the summer months to  work with Parks Canada at Terra Nova National Park, Signal Hill National Historic Site and Cape Spear National Historic Site. I loved interacting with people as they explored our great province. I thought it was great that I was being paid to do something I really enjoyed. 



TOURISM On June 6, HNL’s Board of Directors and staff traveled to Corner Brook to host a Tourism Luncheon to help recognize the contribution tourism makes economically and socially to the province. Held at The Glynmill Inn, the luncheon hosted over 65 people from the west coast of the province. The Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation was on hand to deliver the keynote address.

HNL Chair, Darlene Thomas weclomes everyone to HNL’s Tourism Luncheon

The Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation addresses attendees at HNL’s Tourism Luncheon

Jeff Anderson says a few words after accepting the Ambassador of Hospitality Award on behalf of Parks Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador.

After the luncheon, Stan Cook Jr., Chair of the NL Tourism Board, led a conversation with luncheon attendees about the Board, their priorities and the progress of Uncommon Potential: A Vision for NL Tourism.

Summer 2012

Also at the luncheon, HNL was pleased to recognize several individuals for receiving their emerit® certification as well as present the Ambassador of Hospitality Award to Parks Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador.


Tourism stakeholders attend HNL’s Tourism Luncheon in Corner Brook

Atlantic Canada Showcase 2012 is coming to St. John’s! Atlantic Canada Showcase (ACS) is coming to Newfoundland and Labrador from September 30 – October 2, 2012 at the Delta St. John’s Hotel and Conference Centre in St. John’s, NL! This Buyer-seated marketplace is designed especially for the group tour, F.I.T. and specialty travel industry and provides a unique opportunity to showcase the tourism products and services of Atlantic Canada to national and international Buyers. Participants can take part in exciting pre- and post-familiarization tours and networking events that give buyers first-hand experience of everything Atlantic Canada has to offer. Pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with Atlantic Canada’s premier tourism operators makes the ACS Marketplace a productive place to do business. Please check for the most up-todate ACS information. Space is limited! To learn more about Atlantic Canada Showcase or to sign up to receive the ACS newsletter please visit www.atlanticcanadashowcase. com or contact Michelle Burke at or 1-800-563-0700 ext: 230. Find ACS on Facebook: atlanticcanadashowcase Follow ACS on Twitter: @ACSNL

Rex Avery does business in the ACS Marketplace, 2010

ACS delegates enjoy Atlantic Canada Night, 2010

Jeannette Yetman, Destination St. John’s, does business in the ACS Marketplace, 2010

Summer 2012

Reg and Wayne entertain at Atlantic Canada Night, 2010


Understanding Resident Travellers

Executive Summary of NL Resident Travel Survey The importance of resident travellers to the sustainability of tourism product and service offerings in Newfoundland and Labrador is well known. To update its knowledge on resident travellers and their travel habits, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation conducted a travel survey among residents of the province in the fall of 2010. The main objectives of the survey include a better understanding of residents’ travel motivations, attitudes and interests, profiles of the resident traveller and non-traveller and identification of opportunities to influence and increase in-province travel. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,800 residents aged 18 or older. The sample was grouped into three strata – St. John’s area, urban and rural residents, with urban communities defined as those having a population of adults aged 18 or older of 4,000 or more. To facilitate the analysis of results, additional residents of Labrador were interviewed, for a total sample of Labrador residents of 313. Residents were asked about vacation travel during the past two years as well as their intentions to take in-province trips over the next 12 months. The survey found that residents of the province are travellers: • Seventy-seven percent of residents indicated that they took at least one vacation trip over the past two years. • On average, residents took 5.0 trips over this 2-year period (including trips to out-of province destinations). • Sixty-four percent of residents indicated that they took at least one vacation trip in their home province over the past two years. • On average, residents took more in-province trips (3.9) than trips outside the province (2.5). The survey also found that vacation travel is deemed important by the majority of residents, with 75% of them indicating that it is at least somewhat important to them. Importance of vacation travel varies by place of residence (urban versus rural) and by destination (in-province versus out-of-province travel). Residents don’t appear to travel on impulse, with almost three in five travellers indicating that they research and plan their vacation trips. On average, residents start researching their trips 8.0 weeks in advance using a variety of tools. Most frequently, residents use recommendations n=1,346

Strongly agree Somewhat agree

Travel Attitudes and Preferences - Those indicating travel is "very" or "somewhat" important - % who agree -

I like to make all my travel arrangements before I start my vacation

Outdoor activities and interaction with nature are important to me when I travel on my vacation




Vacation travel is at least somewhat important to 75 percent of Newfoundland and Labradorians surveyed.




from friends and family to plan their trips or go online to check websites (other than and online reviews. During travel, the most popular sources of information are printed maps and event or attraction specific printed brochures. Generally, residents who travel (in or out-of-province), prefer to make all their travel arrangements before they leave and are looking for deals and package offers. While there is only a small group of residents that either has no interest in travel at all or doesn’t travel within the province ever, there are also some barriers to in-province travel that could be difficult to overcome. Most often, residents who did not travel in the past two years and/or are not planning to travel in-province over the next 12 months feel that they do not have enough time off, cannot afford travel, have other priorities or don’t travel due to various personal reasons. When asked to rate Newfoundland and Labrador as a travel destination, residents perceived the province most favourably as a destination offering outdoor and nature-based activities and for sightseeing / scenic touring. They also feel that the province offers a unique vacation experience and good value for money. Perceptions of the province as a destination for vacation outside of the summer months may provide a challenge to encouraging travel during other seasons. Overall, perceptions of the province as a travel destination vary depending on respondents’ place of residence (urban versus rural). During the survey, respondents were asked about vacation trips and their travel experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador. Respondents provided information on the total number of trips they took in this province over the past two years as well as information about the destinations, month of travel and length of stay for up to six in-province vacation trips. More detailed information, including type of accommodation used, travel party composition and activities, was provided by residents for their most recent trip in the province. • The most popular region for vacation travel among residents was the Western region, with 52% of travellers taking at least one trip there over the past two years. The Central region (46%) and the St. John’s CMA (38%) round out the top three in-province travel destinations to which residents took at least one vacation trip. • In terms of travel distance, there is some propensity towards shorter trips and travelling in one’s “own backyard”, with more in-province travellers travelling in their own region the further west they reside. • The average length of in-province vacation trips was 4.5 nights, with vacation trips in Labrador lasting longest with an average of 7.7 nights. • Eighty percent of in-province travellers took summer vacations at home. Fall was the second most popular travel season, with 47% of residents indicating that they had done so while just over one in five residents travelled in either spring or winter. Half of all residents are

Importance of Travel

Importance of Travel - All Residents 36% - All Residents 36%



I enjoy exploring history and visiting historic sites and attractions on my vacation


Summer 2012

Very important Somewhat important


Learning about the lifestyle, heritage, arts, culture and the people of a destination is important to me when I travel on my vacation








Very important Not very important Somewhat important Not at all important Not very important Not at all important



I usually look for vacation bargains and special promotions when planning my vacation











39% This percentage increases significantly based on whether the individual actually travelled within the pas two years for vacation or pleasure. At 84 percent, vacation travel is important to almost twice as man of those who have actually travelled compared to 44 percent of those who have not travelled fo vacation within the past 2 years. This percentage increases significantly based on whether the individual actually travelled within the past

Understanding Resident Travellers

Executive Summary of NL Resident Travel Survey


In-Province Travel by Season - Those who took an in-province trip -


80% 80% 60%


40% 22%

22% 20% 0% Spring Vacations

Summer Vacations

Fall Vacations

Winter Vacations

The survey found that there are some key demographic differences between travellers and non travellers, with travellers tending to be more educated and having higher average annual household incomes. The majority of non-travellers tends to skew older with almost two in five being age 55 or older. Region of residence also appears to impact on whether residents are more likely to be travellers or non-travellers. At the time of the survey, more than one in three residents already had firm plans to travel in-province in the next 12 months, with another 36% expressing that they probably would go on a trip at home. July and August were by far the most popular months for potential in-province vacations, with residents indicating little intent to travel outside the summer season. Motivators identified by residents that would stimulate off-season travel were limited and included lower rates/all-inclusive packages, vacationing with family and friends, special events, concerts or festivals and more things to do. It also appears that weather is a significant factor influencing residents’ motivation to take a vacation trip in their home province. Apart from the weather, snowmobiling was not only identified as the top motivator for in-province winter trips but also came out on top as winter travellers’ (actual and potential) most important winter vacation pursuit, with 48% of respondents indicating that this activity is always or often important when planning an in-province trip. When it comes to activities that residents are generally interested in when they travel in their own province, scenic touring, attending local entertainment and visiting historic sites, museums or archeological sites were identified as the top three vacation pursuits. In order to encourage and increase in-province travel among residents, those who have travelled here in the past appear to offer the most potential. Keeping in mind the time frame for advance travel planning, facilitating the ease of making travel arrangements, providing

Summer 2012

travel offers that are perceived as “good deals” as well as addressing the multiseason travellers. interest in taking multiple shorter trips (rather than one long vacation) • For almost half of resident travellers (46%), scenic touring was a key Off-Peak Travel in the among a portion of residents are key to achieving growth in the resident activityPotential during their for last NL vacation, Vacation while 36% went shopping andProvince 27% travel market. reported going trail / wilderness hiking. While scenic touring, shopping and visiting family and friends were the top three trip motivators by Despite the tendency to travel during the peak summer season, there is some appetite among residents Taken from the Newfoundland and Labrador Resident Travel Survey far (cited by 11% of respondents each), survey results indicate that Summary Report available at to travel in-province during the remainder of the year: vacation trips over the past two years were motivated by a wide variety Resident_Travel_Survey_-_Final_Report.pdf of activities. • Those who travelled in-province were highly satisfied with their experience and are also very likely to recommend the province as a vacation destination to others.


Growing Tourism; Changing Workforce With Newfoundland and Labrador facing an impending skills shortage and having an aging population, the most serious challenge facing the tourism sector will be finding enough workers to fill newly created jobs. Unless new sources of labour are found, shortages could result in over 3000 jobs in the sector going unfilled. HNL, CTHRC, and Conference Board of Canada have recently updated their labour market research. Initial findings suggest that by 2025, an anticipated 2,840 tourism jobs will go unfilled in Newfoundland and Labrador. This means the shortage will equal to 13.7% of potential demand (up from 13.4%) and will be even more acute (14.5% of demand) in St. John’s. Statistics have been projected to 2030 when it is anticipated that 3,553 jobs will go unfilled representing 17.0% of demand. This number indicates that Newfoundland and Labrador will experience the most acute labour shortages of any province in Canada. Overall, the numbers have shifted a little but the story remains the same as it has always been - the supply of jobs will not and cannot keep up with demand. The projected labour shortages in the tourism sector are caused by the rising demand for labour during a period when the Newfoundland and Labrador labour force is expected to experience a sizable shift in its growth and composition. Traditionally, the tourism sector has relied heavily on young people as a source of labour. However, the rate at which young people are entering the labour force is decreasing, while competition to attract young workers is intensifying from other sectors of the economy. The industry will experience a shortage of people in general to fill positions and a much more pronounced deficiency of skilled workers to fill positions.  Labour shortages also appeared to be more severe in regions with significant oil or mining industries because such sectors tend to attract large numbers of younger workers. The high wages paid by such sectors

take the

also tend to create higher wage expectations for all jobs in those regions. Not surprisingly, occupations in Food and Beverage Services; such as food-counter attendants, servers, cooks and bartenders will experience the greatest labour shortages among tourism occupations. Labour shortages are also projected for the Recreation and Entertainment, Transportation and Accommodation industries. These projected shortages can be reduced by developing effective strategies for the attraction and retention of tourism professionals. Showcasing the many benefits of tourism occupations, ensuring that both academic and industry training programs are responsive to the needs of the sector, adjusting to the needs and expectations of younger workers, accommodating older workers seeking part-time hours and mentoring opportunities, and accelerating the rate of tourism employment among new Canadians will all help lessen the effects of labour shortages. By increasing the rate of employment in entry level occupations just 1% per year over a decade, up to 52% of the projected shortages could be alleviated. Implementing formal training and employee recognition programs has also proven to increase loyalty and reduce turnover, as well as improving customer experiences and increasing repeat business and positive word of mouth advertising. Promoting from within also helps to reduce turnover. In a recent study, young employees who believed they had an opportunity for advancement were 230% more likely to remain with their current employer. Investing in the attraction, training and professional development, and retention of new and existing tourism employees now can effectively address the present and future labour needs of the sector. However, for Newfoundland and Labrador to continue to enjoy the substantive benefits that tourism contributes to its economy, action is needed now to ensure growth, sustainability and competitiveness in the sector.


Argentia to North Sydney Overnight

MV Atlantic Vision Sit back and stretch out. WAY out. Enjoy modern amenities and fine dining on the MV Atlantic Vision,

Summer 2012

then tuck in for a good night’s sleep.



emerit速 certification

Lillian Holloway, Tourism Visitor Information Counsellor from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

Daphne Scott, Housekeeping Room Attendant from The Glynmill Inn

Sara Simms, Tourism Visitor Information Counsellor from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

Judy Gillis, Tourism Visitor Information Counsellor from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

Lisa Campbell, Food & Beverage Server from The Glynmill Inn

Sylvia Smith, Food & Beverage Server from The Glynmill Inn

Summer 2012

Denise Anderson, Tourism Visitor Information Counsellor from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation


Recognizing Commitment to the Industry Meet some of our long-time staff at Comfort Inn Corner Brook. Marjorie Heath (on the right) has been with us ever since the first day Comfort Inn Corner Brook opened their doors 24 years ago and  Karen Anderson joined us just six months after that. These two ladies are both laundresses and also provide  housekeeping serLong-time Comfort Inn Corner Brook employees, vices  required in Marjorie Heath (r) and Karen Anderson (l) our guest rooms to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. Marjorie and Karen are the very best mentors that we can provide for anyone who is thinking about getting into the Tourism business. They are excellent examples of what “Quality Service” is all about. “Hope you have a pleasant stay and don’t be shy about asking for anything that you need, that’s what we’re here for!” These are statements that Marjorie and Karen live up to. We are so fortunate to have ladies like this as part of our Comfort Inn Corner Brook Team. St. Jude Hotel extends best wishes and bids a fond farewell to Mrs. Elizabeth (Betty) Coish, a long term employee, on the occasion of her recent retirement from the housekeeping department. Betty was hired as a housekeeping room attendant in May of 1997 and continued on for 15 consecutive years until her recent retirement on May 2. During her tenure, Betty demonstrated an excellent work St. Jude Hotel extends best wishes to long- ethic and was a valued member time employee, Betty Coish as she retires of the housekeeping team. She demonstrated a willingness to learn and adapted to workplace changes through participation in ongoing training and skills upgrading. In January 2001, Betty achieved emerit® National Certification. It was an accomplishment which demonstrated commitment and one which garnered great pride.

Summer 2012

Betty is one of a kind, forthright and not easily replaced. Her true character and spirit was demonstrated when she very sincerely stated, “I have to ®† say I am retiring but when I go looking for work, won’t look elsewhere. AIR IMILES Reward Program I’ll be coming back here for the occasional shift.”


C hoose

As Betty retires, at the young age of 68, St. Jude Hotel management and staff wish her all the best during this next phase of her life and extends sincere thanks for her years of hard work and dedicated service.

New Members

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.

HNL Board of Directors Darlene Thomas Chair Greg Fleming Vice-Chair & Hotel/Motel Association Rex Avery Secretary/Treasurer John Dicks Director Peter Antle Director Annette Parsons Director Rick Stanley Director Todd Warren Director Todd Wight Director Cathy Lomond Restaurant Association Dion Finlay Bed & Breakfast Association (Full board contact information available at

Staff Listing Carol-Ann Gilliard Juanita Ford Lynn Taylor Karen So

Chief Executive Officer Manager, Workforce and Industry Development Manager, Policy and Communications Accountant

Craig Foley

Manager, Technology

Lexie Mckenzie

Membership Services Coordinator

Duckworth Hotel 331 Duckworth Street St. John’s, NL A1C 1G9 Contact: Denise Fowler 1 -888-394-4222

Alexis Hotel 3 Alexis Drive P.O. Box 10 Port Hope Simpson, NL A0K 4E0 Contact: Margaret Burden 709-960-0228

Applewood Inn B&B 2 Woods Street Twillingate, NL A0G 4M0 Contact: Diane Sweetapple-Curren 1-888-394-4222

The Best Kind B&B 161 - 167 Bond’s Path Site 3, Box 29, RR1 Placentia, NL A0B 2Y0 Contact: Frankie Nash & Edmond Ouellette 709-227-5393

Stephenville Airport 13 Tennessee Drive Stephenville, NL A2N 2Y3 Contact: Brenda Martin 709-643-8455

SAVE THE DATE! HNL’s 2013 Conference

Susan Greene Membership Administrative Coordinator Michelle Burke Events and Marketing Coordinator Krista Sweetland

Workforce Development Coordinator

Melissa Ennis

Workforce Development Coordinator

is coming to the

Delta St. John’s Hotel and Conference Centre

Scott Penney Training Coordinator

February 20-22, 2013

Sara-Lynn Murphy Learning Resource 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

Details coming soon at Follow us on facebook and twitter at

Tourism Times is printed four times per year

For all the latest up-to-date information and news, please visit Updated daily!

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

Summer 2012

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


Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) is the tourism industry association in Newfoundland and Labrador representing tourism services and attractions from bays, coves and harbours all over the province. Since 1983, HNL’s has been leading the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. By fostering positive working relationships with industry and government partners, HNL has made great strides on issues that are impacting our province’s tourism industry. From transportation to quality assurance, HNL is dedicated to bringing together all the pieces that make our Newfoundland and Labrador tourism puzzle a destination of choice for travellers from all around the world. HNL, along with its many partner organizations on the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board and beyond, celebrates excellence in the tourism industry with the presentation of HNL’s 2012 Tourism Excellence Awards. The Tourism Excellence Awards celebrate individuals and businesses that have contributed to the growth and development of the tourism industry. H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year Award Hotel North St. Anthony & Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL

Corporate Partner of the Year Award St. John’s International Airport Authority

Cultural Tourism Award The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador

Sponsored by

Presented by

Presented by

The Tourism Atlantic Technology Award Ocean Quest Adventure Resort Conception Bay South, NL

Sustainable Tourism Award Riverfront Chalets and Rafting Aspen Brook, NL

Presented by

Presented by

Cal LeGrow Innovator of the Year Award Roots, Rants and Roars Elliston, NL

The Restaurateur of the Year Award Raymonds St. John’s, NL

The Cruise Vision Award Jean Pierre Andrieux

Sponsored by

Presented by

Presented by

Maxxim Vacations Tourism Business of the Year Award Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours St. John’s & Twillingate, NL

PRIDE Award Barbara Genge, Tuckamore Lodge Main Brook, NL

The Doug Wheeler Award The Beaches Heritage Centre Eastport, NL

The Norman Parsons Memorial Award Beulah Oake, Seven Oakes Island Inn Change Island, NL

Presented by


John Atkins & Co. Tourism Champion of the Year Award Wayne Follett Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Presented by

Tourism Times Summer 2012  

Newsletter of the tourism industry association of NL

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