Newfoundland and Labrador has set a record this year in attracting out-of-province visitors.
Now the province wants to fully tap into winter tourism’s potential.
The Exploits Valley Economic Development Corporation is hosting a province-wide conference Oct. 25-27 in Grand Falls-Windsor, focusing on winter recreation. Specifically, it is a snowmobile tourism workshop directed at government and municipal representatives, and industry members.
Outfitters from across the province are among those invited to participate, as well as representatives from municipalities and accommodations facilities. Zone board members, snowmobile dealers and manufacturers will also be contacted.
“Basically, anyone who’s interested in developing snowmobile tourism in this province,” said special events co-ordinator Wendy Parsons.
“Summer tourism is already expanding and experiencing a lot of growth over the past few years. The winter tourism needs a little boost. This is a chance to bring in world renowned industry leaders and learn a bit about what they’re doing and how we can use it here.”
Parsons said organizers are still firming up registration information.
“We’re going to be having a meet-and-greet at the Botwood Heritage Centre because they have an antique snowmobile display,” said Parsons.
“It will give snowmobile enthusiasts a chance to see that piece of it. It’s something unique and different. Probably not many people have seen it.”
There will be some big name presenters, including representatives from Cain’s Quest snowmobile endurance race in Labrador, Rabaska Lounge in Quebec and Haliburton Forest in Ontario, a 70,000-acre privately owned forest and wildlife reserve named one of the top 10 snowmobiling destinations in North America.
“With the Haliburton Forest presenter, I guess he will share with us what he does there, and hopefully people that are established in the tourism industry, or want to be, can take away something that these presenters are going to offer,” said Parsons.
Another presenter will be Amber Holt, an internationally known veteran rider and sledding instructor with Backcountry Basics in Idaho.
There will also be presenters from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.
“We have a gentleman from the New Brunswick Snowmobile Federation, as well as from the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Federations,” Parsons added.
Participants will come from throughout the conference.
“They will be the people bringing in what they are already doing to diversify, grow and expand their current operations, so we can expand winter tourism in the province.”