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Newsletter of the Tourism Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador


Photo Credit: NL Tourism

Stairs to Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site

Your Provincial Tourism Industry Association 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 Dion Finlay Scott Hillyer Darlene Thomas Terence Hickey Steve Denty Joe O’Brien Rhonda Hutton Larry Laite Deborah Bourden Todd Perrin

Chair Vice-Chair Director Director Director Director Director Hotel/Motel Sector Rep Bed & Breakfast Sector Rep Food & Beverage Sector Rep

(Full board contact information available at

Staff Listing Craig Foley Chief Executive Officer Juanita Ford Manager, Workforce and Industry Development Melissa Ennis Manager, Policy and Communications Karen So Accountant Susie Greene Membership Coordinator Allie Bourden Training Coordinator Jennifer Brown Technology Coordinator

Head Office

71 Goldstone Street (Suite 102) St. John’s, NL A1B 5C3 Tel: (709) 722-2000 Toll Free: 1-800-563-0700

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, established in 1983, is a non-profit membership association that leads, supports, represents and enhances the province’s tourism industry. Hospitality NL has been the voice of the provincial tourism industry since the association was founded. Its work on behalf of members and the industry itself has played a crucial role in developing the tourism industry into the flourishing economic driver that it is today. Hospitality NL 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, Hospitality NL continues to be the leader of the tourism industry in the province.


Hospitality NL believes that the industry’s sustainability for future generations is of utmost important. The preservation of our province’s natural and cultural integrity, and the economic sustainability of our businesses and organizations are vital to this end.


Hospitality NL recognizes, respects and responds to the diverse needs of our rural and urban members operating various types of businesses and organizations.


Hospitality NL believes that our environment is our most valuable tourism asset and an essential component of the tourism industry’s future. We are dedicated to the sustainable development of our natural and cultural resources and the protection of our environment.


Hospitality NL believes technology is an enabler. We encourage and support our members in the integration of technology to support their growth and profitability.


Hospitality NL is committed to assisting our members, regardless of where they are located, to obtain the resources and tools they require.


Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is supported by the tourism industry and

Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, the voice of tourism, provides leadership and direction for the sustainability and growth of the tourism industry.

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I have long been a believer in the power of tourism. The way it brings people together, fosters daydreams of new places and experiences, and encourages the world to embrace and present our distinctive cultures and histories. Tourism is a global connector, and here in our little corner of the world, Newfoundland and Labrador is home to many tourism gems. In fact, four of them have been officially inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO – L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Gros Morne National Park and Mistaken Point. Countless other natural wonders and cultural experiences have ensured Newfoundland and Labrador’s status as a must-see destination. There is a lot of good in tourism. Good news, good times, good food, good opportunity – it’s understandable that the world often views tourism

as a stable, sustainable industry that not only enriches people’s lives, but contributes to both the economy and society. Both our Federal and Provincial Governments have recently released their 2017 budgets and their confidence in the strength and contribution of the tourism industry is evident. Federally, Budget 2017 proposes to make permanent the $37.5 million per year in temporary funding previously provided to Destination Canada, starting in 2018–19. In addition, the Government of Canada promised to provide $8.6 million over four years, starting in 2017–18, to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to support the development of Canada’s unique and authentic Indigenous tourism industry, including contributing to the implementation of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada’s five-year Indigenous Tourism Strategy. Provincially, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has sustained funding for tourism marketing with a budget of $13 million, allocated $1 million to repair damage to the T’Railway Provincial Park and dedicated $20.2 million to support culture and heritage initiatives. The national tourism industry presents tremendous opportunities for all provinces, territories and regions of Canada. Well on our way to reaching our collective goal of increasing visitor spending to $1.6 billion annually by 2020, tourism is, and can continue to be, a success story as one of the most stable, revenue generating industries in our province. Every year, tourism stakeholders across Canada unite their efforts to spread the word about all that tourism offers and elevate the profile of the industry. Tourism Week in Canada is May 28-June 3, 2017, and the team at Hospitality NL is looking forward to connecting with industry partners, participating in special events throughout the

province and highlighting the tremendous value of tourism and travel to Newfoundland and Labrador. If you have an event taking place during Tourism Week that you would like to highlight, please let us know! As a kick-off to Tourism Week, Hospitality NL is excited to host a Tourism Town Hall, in partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and Destination Canada. Taking place in St. John’s on May 26th, this event will provide an opportunity for tourism owner-operators to familiarize themselves with the efforts being made on national tourism issues and to provide first hand input on issues affecting their business and the tourism industry. Be sure to mark your calendars and stay tuned to for more details on a luncheon and guest speaker! I have spoken with many tourism operators in the lead up to the busy summer season and by all accounts, 2017 is shaping up to be yet another strong year for tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. As we welcome travellers from all over the world, guests from the next town over, and get out and #exploreNL, let us keep in mind our vision for Newfoundland and Labrador tourism, our collective goals and our brand promise. Working together to deliver an above and beyond tourism experience is the key to our success in tourism. Here’s to continuing a fantastic year in tourism!

Craig Foley CEO, Hospitality NL @craigfoleyHNL


Stepping up to the Plate

It’s that time of year again! Fresh off the heels of an exciting winter season of adventures on skis, skates, snowshoes and snowmobiles, tourism operators in Newfoundland and Labrador are starting to see the tell-tale signs of spring and ultimately, the upcoming busy summer season. The air is warmer, grass is peeking through the remnants of snow, even the icebergs are making their anxiously awaited appearance a little earlier this year! Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. According to Destination Canada, 2016 was the best year for Canadian tourism in 14 years as the country welcomed 19,979,334 travellers – the highest number since 2002 and second highest ever. More and more people have begun to recognize

the value of tourism and the significant contribution this industry makes to not only our economy, but the fabric of our people and place. Over the last number of years, and especially throughout the eight years since the launch of Vision 2020, incredible efforts have been put forth by all stakeholders in tourism to build a tourism product that lives up to our provincial brand promise. With the continued success of our tourism marketing efforts, as well as our innovative approach to industry collaboration as seen on the public-private partnership of the NL Tourism Board, Newfoundland and Labrador has become a model of best practice within the industry. The time has come to focus our efforts on developing and delivering truly unique, experiential tourism product that surpasses guests’ expectations. We, as tourism owners, operators and employees, must step up to the plate and do our part to ensure that our industry achieves its goal of increasing visitor spending to $1.6 billion annually by 2020. The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is due to officially launch the Provincial Tourism Product Development Plan in the coming weeks. An initiative of Vision 2020 and the NL Tourism Board, the plan focuses on enhancing and creating high quality, high value people and programbased experiences that celebrate our people, place and culture. Along with regional Destination Development Plans and quality assurance initiatives, tourism in NL is more prepared than ever to further enhance and develop the industry. While there is still much work to be done to position the industry for maximum success, there are

plenty of resources already in place designed to assist tourism businesses in building those one-of-a-kind experiences that keep guests coming back again and again. Hospitality NL’s Paths to Profit Resource Guide provides a summary of resources available and the contact information for program leaders, allowing tourism operators to access learning supports that will help businesses align with the promise of the Newfoundland and Labrador brand and raise the bar for quality and service. The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation offers a Creating Experiences Toolkit designed to provide information about the business opportunities that surround experiential travel and helpful information that will aid your efforts in creating compelling experiences. Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and other key tourism organizations that are both provincial and national in scope are in place to help tourism operators in any way they can as folks like you and I work to grow our businesses. They are our coaches as we round third base and head for home on the path to 2020. To my fellow tourism operators, as we prepare for another busy season of promoting everything our wonderful province has to offer, I wish you all the best in your tourism endeavors. Batter up!

Dion Finlay Chair, Hospitality NL @HNLChair



Backing Champions




Owner The Leaside Group

Owner, Coffee Matters Group of Companies




Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s Board of Directors are the tourism industry – members of the association from different types of tourism establishments around the province. Together, the 10 member board guides the path of the organization and the industry.



Owner/Operator Bonne Bay Inn & Seaside Suites


Director of Marketing Destination St. John’s


Co-owner O’Brien’s Whale & Bird Tours


General Manager Capital Hotel/JAG Hotel

General Manager Murray Premises Hotel

President Conach Consulting Inc.



Co-owner Alphabet Fleet Inn B&B

Chef/Owner Mallard Cottage

Recognizing individuals and organizations that rank among the most innovative and passionate in the tourism industry, the Tourism Excellence Awards are presented yearly during Hospitality NL’s Annual Conference and Trade Show. Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador congratulates the following recipients of the 2017 Tourism Excellence Awards:

Tourism Corporate Partner Award Marine Atlantic Inc. Newfoundland and Labrador H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator Award of Excellence Murray Premises Hotel St. John’s, NL Cal LeGrow Tourism Innovator Award Cod Sounds St. John’s, NL CBDC Tourism Business Award of Excellence O’Brien’s Whale & Bird Tours Bay Bulls, NL Tourism Champion Award Cathy Lomond, Hotel Port aux Basques Port aux Basques, NL

Other award recipients honoured during Hospitality NL’s Conference and Trade Show include: Cultural Tourism Award The Rooms St. John’s, NL Sustainable Tourism Award Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. Trepassey, NL Doug Wheeler Award Rick Stanley Ocean Quest Adventures CBS, NL Cruise Vision Award Ashley Dicker








February 21-23, Gander, NL

Hospitality NL’s Annual Conference and Trade Show was held in Gander from February 21-23, 2017. With a focus on seizing new opportunities in a changing environment, Hospitality NL has heard many positive comments regarding this year’s event, as well as great feedback and suggestions for ways to make future events even more beneficial for delegates. Hospitality NL would like to thank all delegates, exhibitors, speakers, panelists, sponsors and vendors for helping make the 2017 Conference and Trade Show such a resounding success!

The annual Trade Show brings together several suppliers of tourism products and services, making it easy for delegates to connect with the people who may have solutions to their tourism business needs.


Delegates have consistently rated networking opportunities as one of the top reasons to attend the annual Conference & Trade Show. Hospitality NL aims to provide as much opportunity as possible for delegates to strengthen relationships and make new connections with peers.

Jesse Hirsh also moderated a panel discussion on the sharing economy consisting of key tourism stakeholders and businesses.

Writer, broadcaster and futurist, Jesse Hirsh, delivered the keynote presentation, Tourism, Travel and the Sharing Economy.

Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada delivered a session focused on educating delegates about indigenous tourism development and marketing in Canada.


Hospitality NL was pleased to welcome Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains (NL), who brought greetings on behalf of the Federal Department of Small Business and Tourism and also moderated a National Tourism Panel.


Recipient of the Doug Wheeler Award, sponsored by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Rick Stanley of Ocean Quest Adventures!

During the Annual General Meeting of the membership, Hospitality NL announced the 2017 Board of Directors. See page 4 for more info about the Board of Directors.

This year’s Tourism Champion Award was presented to Cathy Lomond of Hotel Port aux Basques who has been a passionate member of the tourism industry for over 35 years! For a complete list of award recipients, please refer to page 5.

Hospitality NL brought together a diverse panel of tourism operators, stakeholders and partners to share their experiences, strategies and best practices for developing and delivering truly unique and culturally rich tourism experiences.










Exceed your Customers’ Expectations Every customer expects good service, and your goal is to provide it. From the first moment you greet a customer, use your knowledge and professional skills to ensure that every experience they have with you makes them feel welcome and valued. Quality service begins and ends with you. There are various techniques you can use to determine, meet, and even exceed your customers’ expectations. Always make your customers’ satisfaction a priority. The ability to add value for each customer by going the extra mile is the difference between providing average service and providing great service. Here are eight techniques to help you provide fantastic customer service every day.

2. Treat customers with respect Use customers’ names when addressing them, and show genuine interest in assisting them. If a customer has any concerns, ensure that you follow up on them. Treating customers with respect also means respecting their time requirement as well as their cultural, ethnic, and lifestyle differences. 3. Listen carefully to determine customers’ needs and preferences Listen carefully to customers when they speak, and avoid interrupting them. To help determine their needs, ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” If a customer is unsure of what they want, ask probing questions to determine their preferences. If necessary, you can confirm your understanding of a customer’s request by asking questions or paraphrasing to clarify. 4. Respond to customers’ requests and concerns Be prepared to respond to customers’ requests and concerns. Answer their questions accurately. If you don’t have the answers, take responsibility for getting the correct information (e.g. relay requests to the appropriate departments). 5. Maintain a positive attitude Smile and be agreeable and helpful to customers. Never react negatively to a customer’s criticisms or display of anger. Smile in a way that says you are pleased to be of service, and handle demanding situations

as best you can, in a positive and proactive manner. Never show impatience or prejudge a customer. Instead, listen patiently and try to solve the problem. 6. Meet customers’ specific needs Customers with specific needs include seniors, families with young children, people with allergies, people with vision or hearing losses, people with mobility issues, and people with language barriers. If you have a customer with a specific need, find out how you can help them by asking directly whether they need help or by asking your supervisor for information about how you might help the customer. To provide quality service, identify accommodations, products and services that your company offers that will meet customers’ specific needs. 7. Ask customers for feedback To meet and even exceed your customers’ expectations, it is a good idea to conduct quality checks to get their feedback and ensure their satisfaction. Listen to what they

tell you both verbally and with their body language. 8. Acknowledge customers at the end of a conversation or when they depart As your conversation comes to a close or customers get ready to depart, make a point of reconfirming their satisfaction with the service they have received. Remember to thank them and extend an invitation for their future patronage. These techniques are an excerpt from emerit® Providing Quality Service – Online Learning. This online learning course is perfect training for new hires and is a great refresher for experienced front-line staff. To find out more about this product, visit emerit® is available in Newfoundland and Labrador from Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. For more information on emerit® or other training programs, please contact Juanita Ford.


1. Greet customers in a friendly matter Greet customers with a smile that says, “I’m glad to speak with you” or “I’m glad you’re here.” If you’re greeting a customer in person, also nod and make eye contact. If you’re greeting a regular customer, you could say something like “Hello, Mr. Norquay. It’s so nice to see you again.”



For a complete listing of Hospitality NL members, please visit our Membership Directory!


Over of Hospitality NL members have been part of the organization for years!

10 +

Our members stick around because they see the value of membership through our • constant advocacy efforts; • innovative educational tools and resources; • communication networks; and • discounts on numerous products and services of value to tourism businesses.

Member Benefit Highlight: Advertising Discount!


As a member of Hospitality NL, you receive a discounted rate to advertise in Tourism Times, our quarterly electronic newsletter publication. This is the only tourism industry publication of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador, reaching every corner of the province and beyond, and is your source for information on the provincial tourism industry and our members. It is your connection to what is happening throughout the industry, as well as your platform to inform others about your business and its accomplishments. Also, new members are entitled to one discounted ad in Tourism Times when they sign up for Hospitality NL membership! For more information, please contact your Membership Coordinator, Susie Greene.

The Viking Vacation Home The Viking is located between Twillingate and Long Point Light House on Twillingate Island. A modern, well appointed one bedroom apartment with full kitchen, three piece bath, living room and most importantly, an outstanding view of the mighty North Atlantic Ocean and its rugged coastline, perfect for viewing icebergs and whales.

10 Cod Sounds Owned and operated by Lori McCarthy, Cod Sounds is a cooking school and a culinary excursion company.  We create half day and all-inclusive experiences in NL showcasing a way of life through our people, our culture and our food. Our core values embrace locally sourced regional cuisine and this is reflected in our food experiences and our cooking classes.

Routes Adventures Routes Adventures is Canada’s leader in educational travel and provider of Road Scholar programs in Canada. We create programs that take our mature clients all over Canada and provide them with unique experiences and behind-the-scenes access, and an insider’s perspective that can’t be arranged on their own.

Drover Financial Drover Financial is an Independent Brokerage office. We do not represent any one Life Insurance company, Investment Firm, Bank or Trust company. Being independent from the constraints of any one company allows us to be objective in our approach with our clients to provide them with the Ultimate Financial Solution.


a division of The Scale Shop (1985) Ltd.

Sunshine Inn, Twillingate & Beyond Inc. Twillingate & Beyond Inc. offers an Oceanview Retreat, a 4 ½ star private vacation home – Sunshine Inn & Gallery, a 4 star harbour front property and fine art craft shop – Drift Away Suite. Downtown and wheelchair accessible – Hi Tides Hostel, a 3 ½ star beachfront property.

Food Equipment Services Telephone: 709.747.2031 or 1.888.844.2031 We have been in the service business Fax: 709.747.1338 for over 30 years. We represent most of Email: the major suppliers of equipment to the restaurant and food processing industry Authorized partsand and service providers the following brands..... for parts service. Ourforfactory trained technicians are available 24/7 to serve the needs of our customers. FES, a division of The Scale Shop, is the only authorized parts and service provider for Garland Canada, a Welbilt Company in NL.

Steers Distribution Limited We are a locally owned and operated business focused on servicing the province’s hospitality sector. Our wide product offering covers the full range of flooring, mattresses, seating, bed & bath linens, guest room amenities, restaurant furniture, plumbing fixtures & supplies and heating/ air conditioning equipment. We are here to help our customers succeed.

Hospitality NL delivers training to employees of Nalcor Energy Churchill Falls In March, Hospitality NL contract trainer, Helena Lawlor, spent a week in Churchill Falls delivering Guest Service, Housekeeping, Food Preparation and Sanitation training to 20 employees of the Accommodations and Site Services Team of Nalcor Energy Churchill Falls. The training program was customized for Nalcor Energy to meet the training needs of their employees using the Housekeeping Room Attendant and Line Cook training resources available from

ard Program


For more information on the training resources and programs available through Hospitality NL and emerit®, please contact Juanita Ford.




Members of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador or employees of a member company are eligible for preferred personal home and auto insurance rates. Our products, services and discounts are designed specifically for group members and there are many opportunities to save. Call 1-877-4STEERS today for your no-obligation, insurance quote. PLUS! You can earn one AIR MILES® reward mile for every $20 in premium on your home and auto insurance from RSA.* *All AIR MILES offers are subject to the Terms and Conditions of RSA, and may be changed or withdrawn without notice. Terms and Conditions can be found at

From the Regions


Submitted by: Andrew Hiscock Tourism Development Officer Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland

New Partnership to Foster New Business Connections! Anticipation is in the air as we approach the busy season! This off season, we at Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland were inundated with success stories from our members’ 2016 season. At a variety of sessions this Spring, the attitude has been upbeat, enthusiastic, with lots of positive and inspiring ideas from of everyone! Everyone is so engaged, seeking to connect with their peers, and ready to take last year’s momentum into a stellar 2017! The year started with some amazing news

for the Eastern Newfoundland DMO. We are happy to announce that we have formed a formal partnership with Tourisme Saint-Pierre et Miquelon! We are currently in the process of hiring a new staff member, a Tourism Liaison Officer, who will be responsible for fostering business relationships between Newfoundland and Labrador and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, with a focus of enhancing tourism experiences and increasing visitation to both our islands. This is just the next step in a series of exciting developments for the French islands including announcements about two new passenger and vehicle ferries and investment and the launch of a new brand! This Winter and Spring has been filled with sessions in our region. In conjunction with the Craft Council and facilitator Mary Byrne, Craft in Tourism sessions have been provided in all Eastern sub-regions. These sessions have focused on how craftspeople and artisans and the tourism industry can create craft and tourism experiences for the visitor. It has been a great opportunity to meet so many new

people and form new partnerships. We are also continuing our series of Tourism Opportunities Discussion Sessions in partnership with TCII, ACOA and Hospitality NL, and we have been blown away by the response. These sessions are attracting some of the largest groups of operators we have seen in any sessions! Our gatherings have been opportunities for operators to share their stories, their challenges, and the opportunities that lay before us as an industry. The feedback has been nothing short of amazing, and we are very motivated by the response from industry. As part of the Destination Development Plan implementation process, we will continue to do follow ups to keep the momentum going and to provide operators and other stakeholders the opportunity to learn from and share with each other. We’d like to thank all our members, supporters, and partners as we head into the busy season for Eastern Newfoundland, and we wish all tourism stakeholders province-wide a successful year.

12 Sessions from this winter and spring, from left to right: Cupids, Bonavista, Ferryland and Carbonear

Submitted by: Jeanette Yetman Sales Manager, Leisure Travel & Events Destination St. John’s

If you were following the Tim Hortons Brier media coverage you probably learned that hosting the Brier in St. John’s started with a tweet from Brad Gushue. And that is a fact. But I’m certain anyone in the hospitality business who has ever planned anything, wouldn’t assume that this was all it took for Curling Canada to concur. That tweet was the impetus to wake the village and put the Sport Tourism Event Partnership (STEP St. John’s) and Destination St. John’s (DSJ), STEP’s marketing arm, through its paces to win the bid. What is STEP St. John’s? And why is it

important in growing sport tourism? STEP St. John’s was formed as a partnership of like-minded partners who have a shared interest in growing the sport tourism market in the North East Avalon region. Initiated by Destination St. John’s (DSJ), the destination marketing organization selling the region for national and  international sporting events, identified the need for a multi – stakeholder advisory group to oversee the implementation of a sport tourism strategy for the region.  STEP St. John’s is not a sales and marketing organization, but is rather an alliance of partners with a vested interest in building regional hosting capacity and coordinating all the moving parts required to achieve a successful bid.  STEP St. John’s brings together key sport tourism stakeholders to work collectively toward the Mission “To work with all partners in growing a strong sport tourism industry that provides exceptional value to sporting events and drives economic benefits for the region, while advancing capacity to host sporting events on the provincial, national

and international stage.” Partners include Destination St. John’s, the City of St. John’s, Sport NL, Memorial University, representatives from the sport and tourism divisions of the Province and other neighboring municipalities. The partnership strives to achieve several objectives, including: • Strategic focus; • Information sharing (bids, facilities, events, etc.), • Advocacy (regarding programs, infrastructure, financial and non-financial resources etc.), • Funding synergies; •Building regional hosting capacity (PSOs, volunteers, facilities, funding mechanisms etc.); and • Promotion and marketing of the destination as a region. Perhaps this model could be useful to your region. Visit for more information.

From the Regions

Submitted by: Matt Molloy Marketing Coordinator Adventure Central Newfoundland

Submitted by: Mark Lamswood Executive Director Go Western Newfoundland

Fall Preps for Spring Reps! The Western Newfoundland region was extremely proud to host the pre-Atlantic Canada Showcase familiarization (FAM) tour in the Fall of 2016. This wonderful FAM opportunity brought 20 tour operators from across Canada and the United States to experience a number of key product offerings in the region. The representatives participating in the FAM are considered influential decision makers for their respective companies who ultimately sell group and FIT programs. The FAM was deemed a huge success with some tourism operators acknowledging they are already receiving business as a

Festivalgoers that attended last year’s Gathering had the opportunity to participate in a chef’s hike, where Chef Jeremy Charles served up a delicious meal as musicians played on stage in the background.

information found on the festival’s website. “In addition, Shaun will be joined by master songwriter and 7th level story Jedi Steve Poltz, known for his work with the artist ‘Jewel’ and the writer of such chart-toppers as ‘You Were Meant for Me,’ and the first annual Gathering Tour wouldn’t be complete without festival favorite, the super talented, singer songwriter, Corner Brook’s own Sherman Downey.” The Gathering Tour is a precursor to the main event, The Gathering: Food, Fire and Music, taking place Aug. 24-26 in Shaun’s hometown of Burlington. Popular musicians like Sam Roberts and Alan Doyle have performed in the past, comedians like Mark Critch and Ron James have had people in stitches, while famed chefs like Murray McDonald and Roary MacPherson have served up delicious plate after delicious

plate to festivalgoers. This year’s lineup is once again impressive. The Once and Sherman Downey are returning to the festival stage in August, comedian Trent McClellan will make an appearance, plus chefs Shaun Hussey, Ruth Wigman, Roger Dewling, among others, will be cooking up a storm. Ticket information for The Gathering Tour and The Gathering festival, plus information on the chefs, comedians and musicians, can be found by visiting the website, “Come join us on the road this August, with Shaun Majumder, Kane and Potvin, Steve Poltz and Sherman Downey,” says a message on The Gathering’s Facebook page. “This tour is happening right before we all GATHER in Burlington once again for one of NL’s Favourite festivals.”

result. This FAM (as are most) was the result of a collaborative partnership including Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Parks Canada, the Viking Trail Tourism Association,

Gros Morne Gatherings, the Tourism Southwest Association and our numerous industry supports on the ground. While these seeds were planted in the Fall of 2016, they are already bearing fruit in the Spring of 2017!


‘Gather’ together for a great time Building on the success of The Gathering: Food, Fire and Music, organizers of the annual festival — held in the Burlington area every year in August — decided to add to the excitement by offering a new event called, The Gathering Tour. According to the festival’s website, “Hosted by Shaun (Majumder), the inaugural Gathering Tour features a number of amazing acts who’ll be performing at this year’s Gathering Festival on Aug. 24-26.” Tickets are on sale now for the first Gathering Tour show on Aug. 18 at Holy Heart Theatre in St. John’s, plus the Aug. 19 show at the Arts and Culture Centre in Gander, Aug. 20 show at the Arts and Culture Centre in Corner Brook, and, last but not least, the Aug. 21 show at the Classic Theatre in Grand Falls-Windsor. So, what can the audience expect from these series of mini Gatherings? “This years tour features ‘Kane and Potvin,’ made up of 90s Canadian rockers Kevin Kane of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and Bryan Potvin of ‘The Northern Pikes,’ who have now begun touring the country as a duo,” according to


Research Corner

Submitted by: Tourism Research Division, Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry & Innovation


Provincial Tourism Performance 2016


The tourism sector in Newfoundland and Labrador is an important contributor to the province’s economy as it generates economic activity across all regions. It is of particular significance to rural areas, with tourism businesses offering employment and providing incomes for residents. With both non-residents and residents spending over $1 billion annually while they travel the province, the tourism sector has proved resilient given the economic challenges the province has faced over the past few years. With a share of 45-50% of tourism spending, non-residents bring nearly $500 million of new money into the province which supports services to residents, such as education, health care or new roads. The sector has been supported by a number of infrastructure improvements, including better air access, improved ferry services, the installation of a Category 3 Instrument Landing System (Cat 3 ILS) at the St. John’s International Airport, an expanded convention centre and the addition of new accommodation establishments. Air, Auto and Cruise Current tourism statistics indicate that 2016 was another busy year for tourism in the province. Setting a new record in 2016, boarding and deplaning passenger movements for the province’s seven major airports reached 2.5 million, an increase of 4% over the previous year. Improving airfield accessibility to 99% in low visibility conditions, the Cat 3 ILS was a significant contributor to this achievement in its first year of operation by enabling an estimated 920 flights to operate on schedule. While the province’s airports were busy, actual estimates of non-resident air visitation are not yet available. These estimates are based on the province’s air exit survey. The latest survey was conducted in 2016 and the results will be available later this year. In 2016, Marine Atlantic carried more than 328,500 passengers (both directions), an increase of 3% over 2015, as well as 120,700 passenger-related vehicles, an increase of 4.5%. This activity resulted in another successful year in terms of auto visitation as the province welcomed 101,000 non-resident visitors travelling by this mode, an increase of nearly 5% over 2015. The number of auto visitors increased for two consecutive years for the first time since the year 2000. Visitation increased

from all major markets, with both Quebec and Western Canada growing at a significant 21%, Ontario at 4% and the Maritimes at 2%. Despite a 10% increase in visitors from New England, overall auto visitation from the US remained flat compared to 2015. In both 2015 and 2016 Marine Atlantic successfully piloted new pricing schemes that included discounted fares for particular travel periods and routes which resulted in not only increased bookings on the discounted crossings, but also in an increase in bookings overall. Lower fuel prices, combined with a low Canadian dollar, also contributed to the increase in auto travel as Canadians opted for travel at home as a less expensive alternative to the US or other international destinations. The province received 23,545 unique non-resident cruise visitors during the 2016 cruise season, an increase of 9% over 2015. Cruise ship itineraries indicate that 22 ships made 66 port calls to 22 different ports around the province, with passenger and crew visits exceeding 56,400 people. This compares to 20 ships making 53 port calls to 16 different ports with 53,300 passenger and crew visits during the 2015 cruise season. In addition to two more vessels visiting the province, the increase in cruise ship visitation can also be attributed to the highest overall passenger load factor (95%) in four years and the east coast of Newfoundland experiencing ideal cruise conditions, resulting in no weather related cancellations in the area. Roofed Accommodations Roofed accommodation performance remained flat during 2016. Occupancy rates on a provincial level reached 50.2%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points over 2015’s 50.3%1. Performance was mixed at the regional level, with the Western region leading the province with an increase of 3.3 points, followed by the Central (2.1 points) and Eastern regions (0.1 points). Occupancy rates on the Avalon decreased 2.2 points and 4.6 points in Labrador. Average daily room rates were up across the board, with the provincial average daily rate up 3.2% to $139. Attractions Increased visitation in 2016 to the vast majority of provincial attractions – located across all areas and regions of the province – indicates a busy season for tourism operators, with visitors taking advantage of the many and

varied experiences our destination has to offer. Visitation to Provincial Historic Sites was up 16% reaching 99,238 visitors, with all sites showing increases. Visitation to National Historic Sites increased nearly 4% to 94,368 visitors during the operating season. Provincially operated Visitor Information Centres received 132,760 travellers, with all centres reporting increases. The Rooms (home of the Provincial archives, gallery and museum) opened the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery showcasing the Beaumont Hamel/First World War Exhibit (1916-2016) and, as a result, welcomed over 91,400 visitors in 2016. This represents an increase of 29% over 2015 and sets a new visitor record for the facility. In July 2016, Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve joined Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and Red Bay National Historic Site as a UNESCO designated world heritage site, becoming the first such site on the province’s east coast. Meetings/Conventions With double its previous capacity, the expanded St. John’s Conventions Centre reopened its doors for business in May 2016. The city welcomed nearly 25,000 delegates to 105 large events (50 room nights or more for at least one night), up from 21,200 delegates and 82 events in 2015. The number of room nights sold increased 9% to 33,269. Outlook for 2017 Overall, the outlook for travel demand in 2017 remains positive, as non-resident pleasure travel to the province should continue to benefit from a low Canadian dollar which makes vacationing within Canada more attractive for Canadians. Although inbound air seat capacity is expected to decline slightly, it will remain at historically high levels, providing air travellers with varied options to access the province by air. Furthermore, the provincial cruise association is expecting a record year with 130 port calls by 30 vessels. It is also expected that meetings and conventions activity this year will remain strong and mirror the level achieved in 2016. As part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, Parks Canada’s free access pass to national parks and national historic sites has been in high demand which also bodes well for the attractions located in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Occupancy rate: This is the total number of rooms or units sold divided by the total number of rooms or units available during the reporting period. It represents the utilization rate of the sample reporting at time of publication. Occupancy levels are subject to revision pending further reporting by the province’s accommodation operators. 1

With the five regional destination development plans having been recently completed throughout the province, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding experiences, a sense of place, exploring our visitor journey, etc. I have had the opportunity to attend some of these destination development sessions and I was blown away by the wonderful things happening in our province! The commitment to providing quality products and services for travellers in Newfoundland and Labrador is truly amazing. I urge everyone in the tourism industry to consider seniors and persons with disabilities when developing these unique experiences. 3.6 million Canadian adults (approximately 1 in 7) report having a mobility, hearing, or sight disability, according to Statistics Canada's 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability. By 2036, this

number will jump to 1 in 5 due to the aging population. Although persons with disabilities may require special provisions or aids, this does not prevent most from travelling. The combined purchasing power of persons with disabilities is over $40 million in Canada annually1. This is a huge market that should not be overlooked. Often times we consider that we “cannot” be accessible due to the uneven ground of our trails, narrow doorways in historic buildings, or because we do not have the budget to install a wheelchair ramp. For a moment, imagine you’re a person who is blind, sitting on a rocky beach in Newfoundland and Labrador; you can hear the birds in the distance, the waves rushing over the rocks and a crackling fire on the beach, you smell the aroma from the food being prepared over an open fire, perhaps feel the salt spray from the water on your face and taste the amazing meal that was just prepared over the fire. Just one example of a very unique and satisfying experience that a person with sight impairments can partake in. We owe it to ourselves as Newfoundlanders and

Labradorians to share these and many more experiences with everyone regardless of their abilities. Whatever your tourism operation, I assure you, you can become more accessible. I urge you to think beyond wheelchairs, consider people with all types of disabilities, those with hearing and sight impairments, persons who may have problems with strength and reflexes, people who have had knee replacement surgery or who may have arthritis. The list of possible disabilities is extensive, but so are the opportunities to share our rich Newfoundland and Labrador culture! Access Advisor is a program offering of Tourism Quality Assurance of Newfoundland and Labrador which evaluates levels of accessibility according to four levels: Hearing Accessible, Sight Accessible, Partially Accessible (also known as Senior Friendly) and Fully Accessible. Contact us to for an evaluation to demonstrate your commitment to accessibility, and to ensure #EveryoneisWelcome at your business.

Canadian Business SensAbility

1 has organized several training opportunities for tourism operators and staff, focused on helping you elevate your skills and refine your technology strategy and online presence. For more info, please contact Jennifer Brown at 1-800-563-0700 ext. 227 or

WORKSHOP – Online Video Production May 9, 2017 – St. John’s May 11, 2017 – Grand Falls-Windsor May 12, 2017 – Corner Brook Whether you are new to video marketing or need to take your knowledge to the next level, our Online Video Production workshop is for you. Learn the fundamentals to enhance and optimize your understanding of Facebook Live, YouTube and Vlogging for your tourism business. For more info, please contact Jennifer.

WEBINAR – Email Marketing: Boost Your Response Rate! April 19th, 2017 – 11:00am-12:00pm

This webinar offers practical advice to help improve your email campaigns. Learn what a typical response rate in the tourism industry looks like, as well as how to ensure email delivery, boost the email open rate and improve click-through on calls to action. Click to register.


Hospitality NL is pleased to welcome our newest team member, Jennifer Brown, in the role of Technology Coordinator! Reach out to Jen for all your tourism technology training needs! is a strategic partnership that aims to enable tourism operators in Atlantic Canada to improve their competitiveness through the effective utilization of online technology tools and resources. These training opportunities are supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) through the project.


Access Advisor


Uniting tourism employers and job seekers at inclusive job fair In March, Hospitality NL was pleased to host its first ever inclusive Tourism Job Fair, in partnership with Inclusion NL, Ready Willing and Able, Access Advisor, the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, and Steele Communications. Fourteen industry operators came together on March 22nd at the Holiday Inn St. John’s for a day of networking with qualified potential employees, as well as an opportunity to learn recruitment and retention strategies. Mark Wafer, owner of six Tim Horton’s restaurants in Toronto, kicked off the day as the guest speaker at the employers’ breakfast. Over the past 22 years, Mark and his wife Valarie have hired over 150 people with disabilities to fill meaningful and competitively-paid positions in all areas of the operation. They currently employ 46 people with disabilities in a workforce of 250. Mark believes there is a clear business case for inclusive employment.


Job seekers interact with tourism employers.


Employers gather at breakfast prior to the job fair to hear from guest speaker, Mark Wafer.

Hospitality NL member, Ocean Quest Adventures, prepared to meet with potential future employees.

Tourism Times - Spring 2017  

The newsletter of the Tourism Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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