New HNL chairman touts potential, outlines challenges

Kevin Curley
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Rex Avery, vice-president of hotel operations with Steele Hotels, is the new chairman of the organization representing tourism operators across the province.

Rex Avery is the incoming chaiman of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. — Photo by Ed Vincent/The Packet

Avery served on the board of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) for a number of years as a board member at large. Four years ago he moved into the secretary treasurer position before being asked by the HNL board to take the position of vice-chair.

The vice-chair assumes the chair position after two years.

“I’m very excited about the next two years in the position as chair,” Avery said. “We have a number of issues ongoing, we just rolled out the new tourist assurance plan, which is an upscale version of Canada Select (a consumer sensitive rating program) and it’s going to give our customers assurance that our operators in Newfoundland and Labrador are ready to receive them with all the requirements needed in this day and age in the tourism industry,” says Avery.

Avery said HNL will be rolling out a destination development plan in which all the regions in Newfoundland and Labrador will offer a business plan on how to better enhance their tourism products.

He also said there is a bright future for tourism in the province.

“For the last number of years our tourism has shown great numbers and last year we passed the $1-billion mark. We have a goal set out with the provincial government to hit $1.6 billion by 2020,” he says.

While the rest of the country has seen a decline in tourism over the last number of years, Avery said Newfoundland and Labrador has seen a slow and moderate increase.

“We still do have challenges in the province, we have air transportation that we continue to work for our members with Marine Atlantic and air service. We have some minor problems with rental cars,” he said.

These are the kinds of problems HNL plans to work on for the next couple of years.

“We’ve seen some great development over the last couple of years, Fogo Island, St. John’s, Deer Lake have seen some great investments so it seems that the feeling is mainly positive,” he said.

Organizations: Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Select, Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Fogo Island, Deer Lake

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