© Barrett & MacKay Photo
© Barrett & MacKay Photo
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS © Barrett & MacKay Photo
F OR E WO R D 2018 was a notable year for Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador as we celebrated 35 years of serving the provincial tourism industry. As the voice of tourism, Hospitality NL’s work on behalf of members and the sector has played a crucial role in developing the tourism industry into the flourishing economic driver that it is today. Over the years, a dedicated group of Board members and staff have worked to ensure the association acts in the best interest of its members. Hospitality NL members are hard-working, passionate and innovative people who are committed to strengthening and growing tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. The association would not be what it is today without the members who have been there since the beginning, and those who have joined along the way. In honour of our members – past, present and future – we are proud to release this special anniversary publication celebrating 35 years of working with, and for, our members to grow and develop a thriving tourism industry. We have come a long way throughout the last 35 years, and we look forward to continuing the growth of the provincial tourism industry as a key component of Newfoundland & Labrador’s economy. Here’s to the next 35 years!
Tourism Times is a quarterly publication of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. Opinions expressed by contributers and advertisers do not necessarily represent those of Hospitality NL.
Hospitality NL Board of Directors
Larry Laite Steve Denty Brenda O’Reilly Dion Finlay Darlene Thomas Ed English John Devereaux Joe O’Brien Rhonda Hutton Deborah Bourden Todd Perrin Lisa Martin
Chair Vice-Chair Secretary/Treasurer Past Chair Director Director Director Director Director Bed & Breakfast Sector Rep Food & Beverage Sector Rep Hotel/Motel Sector Rep
Full board contact information available at www.hnl.ca
Staff Listing Craig Foley Chief Executive Officer Juanita Ford Chief Operating Officer Melissa Ennis Manager, Policy and Communications Karen So Accountant Susie Greene Membership Coordinator Allie Bourden Training Coordinator Minerva King Operations Coordinator Linda Hickey Program Coordinator
Larry Laite Chair – 2018-2019
71 Goldstone Street (Suite 102) St. John’s, NL A1B 5C3 Tel: (709) 722-2000 Toll Free: 1-800-563-0700
Image 4 Digital Printing & Design Inc. 1170 Topsail Road, Mount Pearl, NL A1N 5E8 T: 709-747-3850 E: email@example.com W: www.image4.ca
In addition to photographer copyright, stock photos provided by Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism.
© Dru Kennedy Photography
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is supported by the tourism industry and
O UR BR A N D . O U R P R ID E . OU R JO Y. The Quilts
When determining the new direction of the brand, one thing was quickly established: the word "Hospitality" was an important component that should be maintained. We had developed a legacy through our former brand, and much of that legacy was built upon this key word. The new brand would have to reflect the emotions evoked by the province and the experiences of those who travel here. The brand would also symbolize the history, culture and attitude of the people of the province.
Together, the quilts create a varied and colourful logo that is indicative of the experience one would have within the province. Filled with iconic images from Newfoundland and Labrador, the panels are both unique and yet familiar upon first glance. Separately, each panel has a story to tell that helps to create the overall piece.
Brand Identity The current brand celebrates and highlights the numerous elements of the province, and our members, that draw people here year after year. It builds upon the reputation of both the province and us as leaders in our own right, and creates an interest and excitement in each.
The Clothesline A traditional icon of Newfoundland and Labrador, the clothesline signifies many things to both the people who live here and the travellers who visit. First and foremost, the clothesline evokes thoughts of fresh air and open spaces. However, on a deeper level, the clothesline also represents the connection of all five regions.
Hospitality The word "Hospitality" dominates the logo. Continuing on the legacy of the organization, and the reputation of the province, our brand acknowledges one of the key reasons Hospitality NL continues to prosper and flourish.
Branding for Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador was created by JAC
Our rugged coastlines and wideopen spaces are what make Newfoundland and Labrador a traveller's paradise. Our brand salutes our natural environment and the people who deliver our outdoor experiences. Roads less travelled lead to gems well hidden in Newfoundland and Labrador. We're off the beaten path, and our travellers like it that way. Our brand celebrates our unique setting and the critical influence transportation plays in our industry. A province rich in landmarks and a place so often admired for its distinct way of life, Newfoundland and Labrador is full of unique dining experiences, distinctive accommodations, historical attractions and cultural offerings. Our brand celebrates all experiences, urban and rural. Newfoundland and Labrador welcomes everyone on a grand scale with iconic attractions including icebergs, whales and lighthouses. Our brand stitches together a tapestry of these impressive figures along with our fantastic spirit and culture. To this day, Newfoundland and Labrador remains an unspoiled land. A source of energy to some and unique experiences to others, our brand highlights the province's untouched, rugged history.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
After leading the tourism industry for 28 years, in 2011, we needed to revisit and update our brand. Our active presence within such areas as advocacy, education and technology was not properly represented by our former logo and brand. The industry itself had undergone important changes and as such, steps were taken to revitalize the brand of the industry leader.
Canadian tourism industry launches first National Tourism Week, May 11-17, 1987
In August, the first edition of the tourism industry association’s publication titled The Umbrella is released
Hospitality NL hosts the first ever Atlantic Canada Showcase event in St. John’s
Newfoundland and Labrador Accommodations Rating Council is launched
Hospitality NL partners with the Department of Tourism to launch Phase I of the Tourism Destination Management System (TDMS)
Atlantic Canada Showcase '94
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, in cooperation with the Department of Tourism and Culture, hosted the first annual Atlantic Canada Showcase on October 3rd5th in St. John’s. The Showcase was presented in a marketplace setting, designed to bring industry buyers and sellers together in the interest of increasing tourism in the Atlantic provinces. This event saw delegates coming from different parts of Canada and the United States. Atlantic Canada Showcase had committed support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. 1983
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
On September 29th, Hospitality NL hosts our first webinar for industry, a Q&A session with the Chair, John Dicks
500th tourism industry professional is certified in Newfoundland and Labrador through the Emerit Professional Certification program
2012 The industry-led Tourism Assurance Plan is launched, leading the effort to elevate the quality of tourism services and attractions available in the province.
Major rebranding and launch of current logo
2008 A shift in governance structure helps to streamline Hospitality NL’s activities and create a smaller, more focused and effective Board
The province celebrates Cabot 500, a major tourism industry event of the nineties
Hospitality NL produces Beyond Your Backyard TV series which airs on NTV throughout the year, showcasing Newfoundland & Labrador’s tourism industry
To mark the association’s 30th anniversary, Hospitality NL produces a special video featuring many of our fun-loving members and the infamous Corey Hart song, Sunglasses at Night
2009 In September, Hospitality NL first joins the world of social media by launching our Twitter account – today we have 13.5K Twitter followers!
Hospitality NL campaigns to get members “Online by ‘09”, ensuring all members have an active email address by 2009 for member communications
Canada Select evolves to an organization with a broader mandate for quality assurance – Tourism Quality Assurance of Newfoundland & Labrador
2018 Hospitality NL launches the latest version of our website, designed and developed by member, AOR Web Solutions, as well as a new membership management system to help us better serve the industry
Hospitality NL’s inclusive Tourism Job Fair earns them the Business Award for Independent Living from EmpowerNL
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
THE EAR LY D AY S OF H O S P ITA LIT Y NL The Tourism Industry Association of Newfoundland & Labrador was incorporated on January 31, 1983. With the strength of many tourism champions behind them, the first President, Mr. Weston Simms and the first Executive Director, Edward (Bud) Vincent, set out to lead tourism’s new umbrella organization!
Hospitality NL’s logo has evolved quite a bit over the last 35 years!
“Before I close my remarks I must reiterate that this association needs each and every one of you to
and most importantly to join and become an . New ideas are always welcomed as well as new faces. We are on the right track so let’s all pull together and make Nfld. truly in tourism…”
The first Hospitality NL Convention in 1983.
—WES SIMMS, President The Umbrella First Edition, August 1983
HOSPITALITY NL was put in place
“ Two of our original leaders, Bud Vincent and Steve Sparkes, took the stage during Hospitality NL’s 2013 Conference & Trade Show to reminisce on the early days of forming an umbrella organization.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
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because we all saw a need to become and to stand tall. We’re and there is no doubt about this statement.”
UNITED BETTER TOGETHER
—BUD VINCENT Executive Vice President The Umbrella Second Edition, July 1984 firstname.lastname@example.org
How did you get started in tourism? We are a second-generation family business so there was never any thought of me doing anything else. My Dad was in the business, so myself, my brother and my sister just carried on. What triggered the industry to come together back in 1983 and form a collective association dedicated to advancing tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador? I was one of the founding presidents (1984-1985). Hospitality NL came together primarily as a lobby group. There was a hotel association, a restaurant association and a lounge association and many of us had very similar interests. We knew there would be a lot more strength if we spoke as one voice. The other folks in the tourism industry like the B&Bs, tour boat operators, tour operators, weren’t involved in the real early stages, but it wasn’t long before they all joined, and the association grew. What are your thoughts on the progress made in the industry over the past 35 years? If you look at it as a whole, it was an industry where there’s lots of positives and lots of things that are still the same. I feel tourism wasn’t even on the provincial government’s radar as an industry when we started. There wasn’t a lot of professionalism – the government sort of just gave lip service to the industry. But tourism has become a strong and viable industry today compared to what it was back when we started in the early eighties. I remember speaking at a Hospitality NL conference, reflecting on when we started and how we had no staff, no credibility and no money. And I look at it today and we have plenty of credibility, the industry and the association is financially sound, and there’s a great team built within the staff of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. So that’s a very positive thing that’s evolved over the last almost 40 years now. But having said that, we’re still talking about some of the same things that we were talking about back then. There are still issues with signage and regulation. We have a Tourism Act that has needed updating since the early eighties, and it’s so irrelevant today
that anyone in the province can operate without a license. So in some ways we’ve come a long way, and in some ways we haven’t come very far at all. What do you see as tourism’s biggest opportunities going forward? I think we will continue to grow organically. I don’t think there is a magic button we’re going to push to drive the industry forward in leaps and bounds. I think we’re going to continue to see, in spite of a poor provincial economy right now, that non-resident tourism will continue to grow. We may not double visitation in the next 10 years, but I think we will see strong, consistent, steady growth. Our marketing is better than it ever has been, our industry is more professional today than ever, and the knowledge and positive sense of the province that exists in Canada and parts of the US is so much greater than it was back when we started. When I think of the early days, it was never a positive national story carried about the province and now there are plenty. If we think about our oil and gas, Come From Away, some of the stars we have on the national stage, we as a province are much greater recognized across the country today than we were back in the early eighties.
Steve Sparkes, Judy Sparkes-Giannou & Bruce Sparkes – Clayton Hospitality Inc. Other thoughts, comments or reflections I think what I find most disheartening now, and it’s one of the biggest things that is driving the industry backwards, is the advent of the unlicensed accommodators in the province. I feel the government is trying to do something about it, but if you look at the facts, for example, last August, just with Airbnb, not counting VRBO or other platforms, they were 18% of the market in St. John’s. It’s been a great ride for myself and my family – I have 40 years punched and I’m only 62! We’ve ridden through some pretty difficult economic cycles in that period and we’re in another downturn now, but I’m very optimistic for the future.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
Hospitality NL reached out to Steve Sparkes of Clayton Hospitality, a founding member and one of the first Presidents of the association, to chat about how the industry has evolved in the past 35 years.
B U ILD IN G T H E IN D USTRY, TINEKE GOW
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
Tell us a little about your business/how you got started in the tourism industry. The Artisan Inn has operated for over a quarter of a century. At inception, it was known as Campbell House, a two-bedroom B&B, located in the historic town of Trinity, Trinity Bay. From early on the objective has been to provide not only hospitality but create a destination with an emphasis on culture and built heritage. By the year 2000, the business was upgraded to an Inn and the Inn now employs approximately 20 staff members. What started with a single building, now consists of a group of homes with the Twine Loft Restaurant and registration office as a central hub. Accommodation is offered as rooms, suites and vacation homes. Some of the homes are not owned by the business but rather are managed for the owners.
Why did you first join Hospitality NL and/or why do you continue to be a member today? We joined in 1992 at the onset of our business. Initially we availed of services such as property rating through Canada Select and networking with fellow tourism operators. Over the years we have taken advantage of a variety of training programs on offer and the business has received several Hospitality NL sponsored awards. We also rely on Hospitality NL for advocacy. The industry, through Hospitality NL, has promoted standards and good practices. Many visitors to rural Newfoundland and Labrador will tour one or more regions and a generally positive experience over the duration of the trip is important. This lends credence to visitors speaking highly of their experiences on their return to home and work. This social network is important in promoting our province.
How have you seen the tourism industry evolve throughout your time as an operator in eastern Newfoundland? Aspects of operating a tourist establishment have changed greatly since 1992. Most significant has been advances in digital technology. This is so much so that it is hard to remember a time without the internet. Some of us have operated, at first, in the pre-digital age and then dialing-up to connect to the internet and finally welcoming the introduction of fast internet.Â Still, not all operators have access to fast internet. Electronic banking, point of sales, Wi-Fi and user-friendly business programs have helped operators to multitask in ways that have allowed them to greatly expand their businesses. Websites allow operators to promote their businesses and visitors to make informed choices as never before. Also, it is now relatively easy to communicate with potential visitors and other businesses
on an international scale. The growth of culinary tourism in the province, during the last 20 years has been remarkable. This is an example of creative product development which remains an ongoing challenge as our visitor demographics are rapidly changing. What do you see as tourismâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest opportunities going forward? There is strong evidence of entrepreneurial spirit among the millennials. We recognize and support this group as they are the next generation of tourism operators. Other thoughts, comments or reflections as we celebrate 35 years Communication and networking are important. Network with guests, staff, colleagues, associations and business partners. Being informed leads to better decision making. A trained staff is invaluable.
O N E VI SI O N AT A T IME
Tell us a little about your business/how you got started in the tourism industry. Originally a primary school teacher, I gave up teaching to stay at home and raise our four boys. When they were all in school, I decided to find a way to get them through university. I had worked as a tour guide during my younger years, so I volunteered to organize local tours for a student exchange group coming to Newfoundland & Labrador for “Launch Into the Deep” in May 1982. And thus, a great idea for a business came to me. By September of that year I had founded McCarthy’s Party Ltd. By the spring of 1983, I was taking my first clients across the island. By perseverance and hard work, our family business has grown and flourished and is sold today more by word of mouth than any other means. Why did you first join Hospitality NL and/or why do you continue to be a member today? I started my business around the same time that Wes Simms was encouraging everyone in tourism to start an umbrella organization that would benefit the entire industry. I could see the logic and importance of such an organization and joined Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador almost immediately. I recognized the advantages to be gained from membership opportunities such as networking with other tourism related businesses, joint marketing, compound advertising and the need to help nurture and develop service partners throughout the province; eventually becoming President at a time when training for frontline workers and the development of a star system for accommodations was the focus of the organization. The reasons for membership today have not changed. Hospitality NL is working on behalf of its members to better the industry for all. How have you seen the tourism industry evolve throughout your time as an operator in Newfoundland & Labrador? The most significant change has probably been the development of technology in communications. When I started there were no cell phones for instance. I purchased a fax machine as soon as they became available which was a game changer for dealing with hotels, restaurants and coach companies and marveled at the convenience. I bought the earliest Apple computer for small business, a Macintosh, and was able to better manage the business. The arrival of the cell phone was magical. Today’s technology is more sophisticated and continually developing for the benefit of both the business and the customer.
McCarthy’s Party has primarily focused on quality service and customer satisfaction – with most customers tracing their connection via word of mouth with friends and family. The internet allows us to maintain a focus on product delivery while sales opportunities exponentiate through the ability to reach so many clients through social media platforms and a larger audience for shared experiences. What do you see as tourism’s biggest opportunities going forward? Newfoundland & Labrador is very reminiscent of Iceland and there is every reason to believe that we could enjoy similar growth with a likeminded audience. Newfoundland & Labrador is especially beautiful and enjoys endless miles of coastal roadways and vistas. It is clean and green, very safe, sparsely populated, and enjoys vast tracts of unexplored wilderness terrain. The unique culture, incomparable natural phenomena, abundant wildlife, botanical bonanzas, and artistic aptitude of our people distinguishes Newfoundland & Labrador as a fun and exciting destination. Other thoughts, comments or reflections as we celebrate 35 years Over the past number of years, the province has developed outstanding, successful, award winning advertising campaigns which have contributed directly to the amazing growth in the numbers of visitors. The future
of tourism needs to see the development of infrastructure, especially outside St. John’s. The enhancement of existing successful accommodations and the building of new accommodations, especially in rural areas, needs to be undertaken to accommodate the increasing volume of visitors to give them an experience worth praising to their friends and relatives. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the McCarthy’s Party team including our talented, dedicated, informed guides who truly care about our visitors and ensure they have a memorable time in Newfoundland & Labrador. As well as our operations managers and staff who arrange all the details behind the scenes to ensure the success of McCarthy’s Party Tours and Convention Services with hard work and perseverance, growing it into the wonderful company it is today. I would also like to thank Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador, the Department of Tourism, Canada Tourism, our destination management organizations, operating partners, and all the people who make this province such a wonderful place to live and visit. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with Hospitality NL to help support and grow the tourism industry here in Newfoundland & Labrador. CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
STAN & JENNY PARSONS
Victorian Manor Heritage Properties
Tell us a little about your business/how you got started in the tourism industry. The year was 1984, Stan (a journeyman carpenter), 24 years of age, invested his savings into purchasing his great-grandfather’s old homestead (George C. Butt, built in 1919). Little did he know that it would lead to 34 years service in the Tourism Industry. At that time, there was only one other B&B on the entire West Coast. Upon completing restoration, we opened the doors of the Victorian Manor Hospitality Home (as it was known then), a fivebedroom bed and breakfast, in July of 1985.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
In 1988, we built and opened the Victorian Manor Efficiency Suites in Woody Point, as well as taking over the Seaside Restaurant (owned by Jenny’s mom) in Trout River. The Seaside is now beginning its 40th year of operation. Since we started Victorian Manor Hospitality Home, we have evolved into what is known today as the Victorian Manor Heritage Properties. Over the years, we have taken five heritage houses in the community of Woody Point and breathed life back into them. Sadly, in February of 2002, we lost the historic Victorian Manor B&B, not only the business, but also our home, to a tragic fire. In 2012, we opened our most recent venture, the Merchant Warehouse (Retro Café & Wine Bar), located on the waterfront of Woody Point. Our motivation comes from our desire to ensure our guests have the best experience – our future looks bright! Our daughter Kendra has been taking on somewhat of a leadership role over the past couple of summers; hopefully, one day she will take off from where we leave.
Why did you first join Hospitality NL and/or why do you continue to be a member today? We first joined Hospitality NL to meet others who worked in the Tourism Industry. As young entrepreneurs, we felt it had visibility in the province as a strong voice for tourism operators. Being part of a Provincial Association would offer a wide range of opportunities to us. We felt it would enhance our business relationships and lead to greater success in the Tourism Industry.
We continue to be members because Hospitality NL continues to provide access to education and training for us and our employees, benefit programs, and networking opportunities with others in the province, all of which helps us to stay on top of new products, services and innovations within our industry and maintain a competitive and informational edge. We are proud recipients of the Ambassadors of Tourism Award, the Sustainable Tourism Award, the Norman Parsons Award and the Restaurant Hall of Fame. How have you seen the tourism industry evolve throughout your time as an operator in western Newfoundland? As I said earlier, when we opened the Victorian Manor Hospitality Home as it was called in 1985, there was only one other operational B&B here on the West Coast and Northern Peninsula. We were among the first operators, along with Beulah Oake, to meet with Marg Kearney and form the very first Bed and Breakfast Association. I think it was the timing for us. The fact that we are nestled in the natural landscape of Gros Morne National Park has played an important role to our success and expansion. We have seen a tremendous amount of growth here on the south side of Gros Morne National Park. Our community is becoming the magic of Gros Morne with the annual Writer’s Festival, Gros Morne Summer Music, Bonne Bay Regatta, Art Studios & Shops, restaurants, and much more. What do you see as tourism’s biggest opportunities going forward? Tourism in this area is showing positive growth. Our marketing and readiness must line up with Gros Morne National Park. Our cultural experiences and wilderness adventures within the Park will be our biggest drawing cards. We must always keep in mind the visitor experience. I believe if we continue to deliver our product with the visitor in mind, then good things will follow. Other thoughts, comments or reflections as we celebrate 35 years We do it “For the Love of People”. We would also like to offer a Thank You to our amazing staff members. Thank you to every single person who has ever dared to join our team. To our many guests, globally, we say “Thank You”. To Hospitality NL, congratulations on 35 years of continued success in our province. Thank you to all the dedicated partners for their continued support of our industry. Hospitality NL has and continues to support the diversity of businesses that make up the tourism industry in our province.
We are in one of the more remote areas of the province in Southern Labrador and there are always adventurers and travellers coming to the area. But there weren’t a lot of visitor experiences or tourism opportunities, so that’s how I got started with Tour Labrador. It led me to building a business over the next 10 years that started as basic guiding and one-on-one experiences and has now evolved into a public-private partnership with Provincial Historic Sites. Through all of our business lines, we offer products that include culinary experiences, retail, small group tours, cruise ship tours, and shore excursions at Red Bay National Historic Site. We are very lucky to work with clients from all over the world! Why did you first join Hospitality NL and/or why do you continue to be a member today? Both my husband and I feel that the network that Hospitality NL provides for the tourism industry is invaluable. As a small tourism business in Labrador, we need agencies like Hospitality
NL to provide that network, and for only a small membership fee, to provide opportunities to participate in advocacy, industry standard conversations, training & networking opportunities. How have you seen the tourism industry evolve throughout your time as an operator in Labrador? I have seen the industry become more cohesive in smaller, more remote areas of the province. Over the last 10 years as a small operator in Labrador, I’ve certainly seen growth in visibility. Labrador as a whole and specific businesses have become more visible provincially, nationally and internationally because of folks like Hospitality NL, the Province and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry & Innovation and their marketing efforts. What do you see as tourism’s biggest opportunities going forward? I think tourism’s biggest opportunity is to continue to expand upon the brand that the Province is creating for Newfoundland & Labrador. In Labrador in particular, the brand is of a remote, untouched, pristine, adventurous, wild and free place. As well, infrastructure in the province has changed. The access to Labrador in particular is going to create big changes over the next 10-20 years in terms of visitors being able to access communities and areas of the province that they were never able to before. Other thoughts, comments or reflections as we celebrate 35 years I would like to see Hospitality NL continue with the great work it does. Keep reaching out to small operators like us with opportunities to participate and have a voice in the direction of the provincial tourism industry, to better enhance our business, as well as our region and the industry as a whole.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
Tell us a little about your business/how you got started in the tourism industry. It started as a genuine interest in helping people explore the province. What began as a small, “on-the-side” business, expanded into a more focused full-time business once we took over operations of Sea View Restaurant and Forteau Food Chopper.
Tell us a little about your business/how you got started in the tourism industry. Shallow Bay Motel is a proud family business which was established in 1972 by our parents. They started with a small pub, a coffee shop and eight motel rooms. Currently my sisters and I run the business and we have expanded our property to 92 units which includes motel rooms, cottages and B&B rooms. We are now the largest accommodation provider in Gros Morne; a source of family pride for sure! Why did you first join Hospitality NL and/or why do you continue to be a member today? In the beginning, I joined Hospitality NL as a way to network with other business owners and to avail of the many benefits of membership. It’s great to know that there is such a group as Hospitality NL which helps Newfoundland & Labrador businesses. How have you seen the tourism industry evolve throughout your time as an operator in western Newfoundland? In the early years, print and word of mouth were really the only forms of marketing available to business owners. However, over time marketing has evolved to be mainly technology based in nature. Online reservations, TV ads, websites, Facebook and blogs/vlogs now dominate the marketing landscape and serve to provide potential visitors with visual representations of our unique way of life and scenic images of our province.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
What do you see as tourism’s biggest opportunities going forward? I see authentic visitor experiences as the single largest tourism opportunity going forward. Visitors want to come to our beautiful province and leave with a sense of satisfaction and belonging, having been immersed in our rich culture.
Other thoughts, comments or reflections as we celebrate 35 years Being a part of such a great organization has been one of the highlights of our venture into tourism. Over the years, I feel that we have grown together and have complemented each other so well. We look forward to many more years of cooperation and friendship.
Tell us a little about your business/how you got started in the tourism industry. Victoria Outfitters Ltd. commenced operations in 1989 offering black bear hunting opportunities to visitors from the United States, Northern Europe and mainland Canada. Our business model was to provide a quality experience that would generate repeat customers. Over the thirty years of our history, we have developed many lifelong friendships with people from all over the world. Recently, we sold Victoria Outfitters and started a new business – Wilderness Hunting & Pursuits. Why did you first join Hospitality NL and/or why do you continue to be a member today? We joined Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador from the beginning. We believed that this organization would enable us to build networks and relationships with the other members of the tourism sector. We certainly accomplished that objective and a whole lot more. We received access to a wealth of information and opportunities to develop and participate in marketing and promotion efforts. As Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador grew, so did its value to Victoria Outfitters Ltd. How have you seen the tourism industry evolve throughout your time as an operator in central Newfoundland? Over the years, we have seen the tourism sector become much better organized and demonstrate greater cooperation. Training has become an important component of the tourism product. Efforts to improve product quality and consistency through grading and other initiatives are helping to build the reputation of Newfoundland and Labrador as a destination. What do you see as tourism’s biggest opportunities going forward? The biggest opportunity would seem to be the benefit of our improving reputations. This has been supported by the impressive advertising programs of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government and the industry in general. As more people take an interest in visiting Newfoundland and Labrador, we can provide more and better experiences and products. Other thoughts, comments or reflections as we celebrate 35 years The operation of a tourism facility catering to people from all over the world has provided a wonderful, exciting, and fulfilling life. The industry needs to continue to work together to help overcome the challenges of being a small but beautiful place in a big world. We have refocused our role in the Outfitting sector from operator to booking agent with our new business, Wilderness Hunting & Pursuits. We are confident that many current operators can provide the level of quality and service that we did in building our network of customers that became our friends!
R E S E AR C H RET R OSPEC TIVE
A Look Back at Tourism Research in Newfoundland and Labrador Submitted by: Sector Research Division, Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry & Innovation
Just as the industry has evolved, so too has the way we conduct tourism research in the province. With the increased focus on growing tourism, it was recognized that research would need to play a larger role. Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism strategy, Uncommon Potential – A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, established the need for a dedicated Research Division tasked with providing much needed market insight and timely research. Most of what we know about travellers to Newfoundland and Labrador is gleaned from the Research Division’s exit survey program – the tourism department’s core research project, with the most recent survey conducted in 2016. Personal interviews with travellers
using handheld devices allowed us to collect core information about our visitors while a detailed 16-page questionnaire captured additional information ranging from trip motivators, regions and attractions visited to trip expenditures, from accommodations used along the way, to travel planning habits and trip satisfaction. Recognizing that more and more visitors are travelling with smartphones and other electronic devices, the 2011 and 2016 exit surveys offered visitors the opportunity to complete the questionnaire online.
While uptake was not substantial in 2011, with just 6% of respondents completing an online survey, the 2016 survey saw 85% of respondents choosing the online option. Clearly winning as an easier and greener alternative to completing a paper questionnaire, the online survey received a significant boost through the distribution of popular Traveller’s Guide-style bookmarks noting the web address and unique pin number travellers could use to access the survey at their convenience. In cooperation with a local market research firm and the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency, the Department was able to compile an extensive data set with information about our visitors. Keeping in line with today’s travel research trends, recent reports profiling our visitors have aimed to better visualize the data through images and infographics to make the data more accessible and easier to understand for more users.
Technology has not only changed travel and travel planning over the years, it has also revolutionized the way we research and analyze our visitors. While the exit survey is by no means a new way of conducting travel research, technology has certainly transformed the level of effort required and the scope of research possible. Since its inception in the early 1970s, Newfoundland and Labrador’s exit survey program has undergone many transformations throughout the years, with Department staff at times finding themselves in rather peculiar situations in the quest for information about our visitors. Flashback to the mid-1990s. A white and green trailer nestled on the side of Route 389 at Mount Wright, Quebec, located 44 km from “home” and 19 km from the closet community (Fermont, Quebec) served as a lonely outpost for Department staff and hired survey assistants who were conducting a Labrador Auto and Train Exit Survey.
Location of the trailer used as ‘research outpost’ to intercept auto visitors exiting the province in Labrador via Route 389 during the 1995 Auto and Train Exit Survey The trailer, on loan for six months from the Wildlife Division in Labrador West, was frequented by hungry foxes and other wildlife but, nevertheless, allowed staff to intercept and distribute questionnaires to visitors travelling by automobile as they exited Labrador. A large sign at the site, in both French and English, informed travellers they should be prepared to stop so that staff could hand them a questionnaire. As one might expect along a route with light traffic, staff began to recognize travellers who frequented the dusty road for work and recreation and leisure. As a way to signal to staff that he already had a copy of the questionnaire, one resident of Fermont kept his questionnaire on proud display on the dash of his truck to avoid having to stop each time he passed through – curiously, he never did complete and return it. Other versions of the exit survey saw Tourist Information Officers (today’s Visitor Information Centre Counsellors) who worked on the Argentia and Port-aux-Basques ferries scrambling to hand out questionnaires to visitors before they boarded the ferry as well as interviewers roaming the departure lounges of provincial airports looking for willing (and unsuspecting) travellers. Questionnaires during this time were not as detailed, often fewer than 10 pages, and did not aim to capture the same range of information as is collected today. While collecting information from visitors was logistically challenging in the 1980s and 1990s, data analysis and reporting was even harder in a time when computers and statistical software were not commonplace. Questionnaires – returned by mail – had coding blocks on the right-hand margin, which had to be manually filled in and keypunched.
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
The tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador has experienced profound change over the past thirty-five years, cementing its place as a dynamic economic driver that impacts all regions of the province. Through this period, non-resident visitation and spending have been growing at an overall steady pace, with over 315,000 more visitors coming to this province every year now than did in 1983, increasing their spending by an inflation adjusted 700%. Considering a number of economic recessions during the three decades, impactful events such as 9/11 or SARS, the tourism sector in this province has proven significant long-term resilience. And recognizing the growth potential and economic impact of the industry, “tourism” was eventually added as a standalone section in the 1989 edition of the Department of Finance’s annual publication, The Economy.
The information from completed questionnaires was stored on high density diskettes at Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services (NLCS) and NewTel Information Solutions Ltd. (NISL), predecessors of what we now know as the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
1983 Auto Exit Survey: Questionnaire (top) and hand-drawn bar graph (bottom) in the survey report
CELEBRATING 35 YEARS
Survey results reports in those early years were largely textbased, produced on type-writers or word processors and based on information in thick binders that were filled with table printouts (i.e. the survey results) produced by NLCS and NISL, and sometimes included hand-drawn bar graphs and numerical tables.
Later results were analyzed using the then Planning and Research Division’s highly coveted lone computer and an early version of SPSS (Statistical Package for
the Social Sciences), resources received in the early 1990s, to be shared and pre-booked amongst Division staff. It is not just the way we collect information about our visitors that has changed over the years – thanks to the continued cooperation of tourism operators and other industry stakeholders, we now have a wide range of tourism indicators which are used to paint a much more detailed picture of the tourism industry in the province than was possible 35 years ago. The willingness of industry partners to share data has been instrumental in strengthening and tracking tourism performance in the province.
While information sharing was limited in the early 1980s, better communication throughout the years has seen the number of travel indicators tracked in the province continually rise. From core information such as vehicle and passenger traffic on Marine Atlantic, airport passenger movements and cruise ship passenger movements, roofed accommodation occupancy rates, to meeting and convention delegate counts, the range of data now collected and reported on has increased profoundly and is now an integral part of helping us track and assess the strength of the industry. The sharing of visitation statistics by parks, historic sites and other attractions, whether large or small – all add an important layer of information that is critical to our evaluation and path forward, and without which we would be unable to paint a complete picture of the tourism sector in the province.
With the help of exit surveys and travel indicator data provided by operators, tourism research in the province has come a long way. Another significant change in the evolution of travel research is the way in which we now draw upon a range of secondary research to complement our existing research. We are now able to look at tourism in the province with a larger lens, understanding that travel to Newfoundland and Labrador is often impacted by global travel and economic trends outside of our control. Analyzing what we know about our visitors in the context of what is happening in the global tourism space has added more context to our understanding of the sector. At the same time, other trends in tourism research have encouraged us to look a little deeper at our visitors. While traditional tourism research has
1984 Accommodation Guide for Newfoundland and Labrador listing about one quarter the number of accommodations than the 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador Traveller’s Guide
given us an understanding of our typical visitors – demographics, origin, what they do and see while visiting – there is a new push in travel research for destinations to look beyond just “who” their visitors are and answer more complex questions about how and why they travel. Understanding underlying traveller motivations, attitudes, habits, hobbies and values is now recognized as a valuable addition to traditional tourism research and allows for a more thorough understanding of our travellers, helping the industry create experiences and offerings that are more likely to appeal to them. Market segmentation and psychographic analysis, understanding traveller values and motivations are just some of the research tools that support developing an ever more complete picture of the Newfoundland and Labrador visitor. And while the ways in which we collect data and conduct research have changed over the years, the overarching goal remains the same – to collect and update pertinent information about our visitors to help the tourism sector continue to grow and adapt. Although still a complex undertaking, technology has made it easier to conduct and analyze data collected from large-scale exit surveys in the province, allowing us to better establish visitor and spending estimates. Continued cooperation and improved data sharing between tourism operators and stakeholders has led to the development of a rich database of tourism indicators that help us keep our finger on the pulse of the industry. Finally, new approaches to tourism research have emerged that help us better understand our visitors, complementing our collection of existing survey research and tourism performance indicators that have been gathered over the past 35 years.
S TR O N G L EADER SH IP S TR O N G A SSOCIATION
Over the years, 21 people have volunteered their time and taken on the role of President/Chair of the association. They are all tourism champions!
STAN COOK JR.
One source for tourism growth and development
YOUR WORLD IS UNIQUE. WE INSURE IT.
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