Minister touts tourism potential

Colin MacLean
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Terry French (right), minister of tourism, speaks with St. John’s Rotary Club member Louis Puddister before their regular luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Thursday. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Why mess with a good thing? According to Tourism Minister Terry French, Newfoundland and Labrador has no plans to make any major changes to its tourism campaign in the coming year.

French was invited to speak at a Rotary Club meeting in St. John’s Thursday. The minister touted the province’s award-winning advertising campaign as a major reason Newfoundland and Labrador is now seen as a tourism destination.

He also said there were no plans to change that strategy any time soon.

“We’ll continue on with Find Yourself Here. We’ve had such success with it and our numbers are up unbelievably. We’re up 22 per cent since 2003 since we started,” said French.

The campaign was developed by local company Target Marketing and Communications Inc. and has been in use for five years.

Probably the most visible aspect of the campaign has been the colourful TV commercials, which are broadcast nationwide and on the Internet.

But French was tight-lipped when asked about locations for shooting the videos for next season’s commercials.

There is still a lot of work to do before final locations are nailed down, he said, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to speculate.

“We’ve been looking at some interesting ones this year. There’s multiple really, but there’s four or five that we’re looking at with some seriousness. I can’t really get into what we’ve done because we haven’t made the finalized decision,” said French.

But he did drop one hint.

“But I will tell you one thing. They have been doing some filming in central Newfoundland. So we’ll see where we go from there,” he chuckled.

As for tourism numbers for this season, French said that official numbers won’t be available until sometime in the new year, but he did have some preliminary indications.

Overall it’s looking like a mixed bag season, mostly because of the weather, he said.

“We’ve got areas having a banner year, others that are a little slower because maybe they were weather dependant, but generally our indicators are that non-resident numbers are up. So that’s something.  Our air travel is up. ... Our roofed accommodations are up. That’s always a good indicator ... so you know everything is pointing in the right direction,” said French.

One challenge French foresees for the province’s tourism sector is expanding on opportunities present in Labrador, which has a lot of untapped tourism potential, he added.

Organizations: BDC, Business Development Bank of Canada, Board of Trade Sheraton ISO

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • BW
    September 14, 2011 - 10:44

    It is amazing how in Newfoundland we cannot see beyond what we know. Newfoundland is NOT a tourist destination. Seriously! The level of professionalism in the industry is embarrassing. The wait staff are not trained, we only have 2 real world class hotels, no rental cars for tourist, and virtually no retail clothing shopping here. Also, tourists dont want to go to the mall, like most people, they want to spend time in the downtown core. You want to make a difference Mr. French, add some value for those that do come here. Ensure the downtown area is clean and up to world standards. i was recently in Bosnia - with bulletholes in the buildings, the streets were still so much cleaner than downtown St. John's. Get rid of the drunken rowdy behaviour on George Street. Police in cars driving down a pediatrian street.... why? Get out of your car, and patrol on foot - LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD! Sorry for the rant... but I make sure I leave this place in the summer - it is not a tourist destination!

  • brett
    September 11, 2011 - 10:21

    We had 550,000 people come here last year. That was a drop in the bucket. The world's population is over 6billion. Talking about tourism going up 22% since 2003 is a joke. Canada has a population of 35million. Take a lifespan of 70 years - subtract out the 500,000 people that live in NL+Lab. 34.5million/70 = how many people would come if they were to visit once in their 90 year lifespan = 492,857 visitors from CANADA just for every canadian to visit NL once in their lifetime. Or put another way - assume of the 6bn people that live in the world, that they all would love to come to NL ONCE in their lifetime... Again lifespan of 70... 85,714,285 a year for that to happen. We see 550,000 people or what percentage??? 0.0064% of the world will visit NL once in their lifetime (assuming that visitors that come will only come ONCE). NL is not on the tourism map globally let alone in anglo speaking nations. from MSNBC: Not surprisingly, the French are out in force. How to account for the preponderance of attractions in Paris? According to the latest statistics report from the World Tourism Organization, France receives more foreign tourists per year than any other country -- some 76 million in 2005. Spain followed with 55 million, the United States with 50 million and China with 47 million. Italy rounded out the top five with 37 million (with the U.K. not far behind).

  • lonenewfwolf
    September 09, 2011 - 17:13

    i have an organic farm in eastport. i get people coming here constantly half starved for fresh food. i also get alot of international backpackers travelling on a budget, but staying for long periods of time. the lack of availability of fresh food and public transportation is a big issue we need to address, if not for local people, then at least for those visiting us who do not drive or eat food from the grocery store...

  • mom
    September 09, 2011 - 11:57

    I live on the island and have always wanted to visit Labrador, but the cost of travel to Labrador will have to be reduced before I can go there. It is a pity that I can travel most places in the world cheaper than I can travel within my own province.