Province’s tourism industry booming

Katie Starr
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New advertising campaign adds chapters to N.L.’s story

Provincial Tourism, Culture and Recreation Minister Terry French speaks at the launch of the province’s latest tourism television ads at The Rooms Monday morning.
— Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is “knocking on the door” of becoming a billion-dollar industry, Tourism Minister Terry French said Monday.

French was on hand at The Rooms in St. John’s to officially launch the province’s 2013 national tourism campaign.

There was plenty of clapping hands and stomping feet as folk singers Jim Payne and Fergus O’Byrne kicked off the event with a rollicking performance of lilting, a musical tradition inherited by the Irish that is showcased in one of the two new television ads.

The ads continue the provincial government’s award-winning Find Yourself campaign, started in 2006.

The new ads are the 15th and 16th chapters in the story of the province, French said.

“Our campaign is presented as chapters of a book with each ad telling a story that’s unique to Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

The chapters are designed to complement three pillars of Newfoundland and Labrador — the people, the culture, and the natural environment, according to French.

“Most Easterly Point” tells a story about the province’s unique geographical position as the most easterly point in North America.

“It’s hard to believe most people still wake up to an alarm clock,” a voice says as a couple greets the continent’s first sunrise slowly peeking over Cape Spear.

The second chapter in the campaign is “Conversation,” French’s favourite because of the people who are profiled.

“‘Conversation’ tells a story about one of the province’s most distinct, charming, and irresistible qualities — our language,” French said.

“There are more English dialects spoken here than anywhere else in the world,” he added.

Four online videos that add depth and dimension to the stories were also unveiled Monday. They are

available to watch on the website

The national television campaign, supplemented with the online videos, as well as newspaper, in-flight, digital marketing and social media advertising, has brought significant results, said French.

Tourism spending in the province in 2010, the most recent year for data, was $878.6 million, and it is projected to keep rising.

In addition, non-resident visitation has increased by three per cent annually since the campaign began in 2006, with non-resident expenditures in the province increasing five per cent annually.

In 2012, website visits were up more than 30 per cent, representing

1.5 million visits to the provincial website, according to French.

The ads were getting notice on Twitter in the first few hours after they were posted online.

@nhudson709 wrote, “The new ads are beautiful. Please tell me the talent used in ‘Conversations’ is local?”

Steve Kent, MHA for Mount Pearl North, posted the new ads on his Twitter, causing @MarkLaneNL to respond, “I love our tourism commercials! Feel proud every time I’m on Air Canada when they’re showcased and all passengers are in awe!”

@thefunlibrarian, tweeting from Ontario, wrote, “Sunrise at Cape Spear — definitely one of my top ten life experiences. Beautiful promo piece. Well done!”

A California tourism company, @VisitCalifornia, tweeted a simple “You guys just raised the bar, congrats.”

But French gives all the credit to the province itself. “In Newfoundland and Labrador we’ve got a lot of stories to tell,” he said.

Organizations: The Rooms, Air Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, California, North America Mount Pearl North Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Helmut Ebert
    November 28, 2013 - 15:02

    We only have good memories about our trips to Newfoundland-Labrador. We prepared a German Internet travel guide. as a thank you. Just enter Neufundland Tourismus in

  • Nikki
    January 23, 2013 - 01:06

    Hi. I just wrote a comment on the Tourism in Newfoundland. I forgot to mention a BIG issue with a lot of RV travelers I know and met back home and's the Ferry Cost. This summer to buy round trip tickets on the Ferry is almost $2,000 for the One Ton Dully Truck and a 32 ft. Airstream... just from Sydney to Port Aux Basque. To say nothing of the price of fuel on the Island and the taxes. It's a very expensive place to visit compared to most. Still going this summer thought. Pan to post adds on Craigslist to see if people have land we can park on just incase. Not a lot of dump stations around either unfortunately. Thanks for reading my posts. Nikki

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 10:45

      Ironic, no? The ferry system was entirely "repurposed" for 2-month tourism, at the expense of residents who just need reliable, basic transprtation and the commercial users to move product to market...and lo and behold, even the tourists find it too expensive...who'd a thunk it? Not Maroon Atlantic, that's for sure. White linens and hot tubs, anyone?

    • Foghorn Leghorn
      January 23, 2013 - 11:32

      @Nikki - You are 100 percent correct. The cost of the ferry service to Newfoundland is actually becoming a determining factor for many who are deciding to travel here. A good friend traveled to PEI last summer with his motorhome. He was approached on a number of occasions to say how few tourists from NL tow their trailers to PEI anymore. At one campgrpound he was told at one time NL campers were almost 40 percent of their business, now it is almost next to nothing. Remember, if we can't afford to travel there, that is the same for others who want to come here. Food for thought!

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 14:36

      And....Atlantic Vision is down again. Shock of all shocks. I'm surprised they found anything mechanical wrong now....she spends most of the winter tied to the dock until the wind dies down in April.

    • elizabeth milwee
      August 13, 2013 - 09:49

      We travelled to the Maritimes in Canada mid July 2013. After spending our first night at the Windjammer in Ogdensburg, N.Y. (VERY NICE PLACE!), drove through Quebec along the St Lawrence River/Seaway, through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and Labrador.While there we found visiting the Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador ALL that we expected. The provinces were absolutely beautiful. My camera never left me. I was glad to have a digital or we'd have spent as much on film and developing as gas. The prices in all the provinces were exorbitant! $6 for a gallon of gas was average and $7 twice in Labrador and Quebec, (probably for the distance the fuel trucks have to go). We had planned for 30 days for the whole trip but 16 days exhausted our finances. Considering the prices of fuel, food, (Kentucky Fried for 2 was nearly $30) and lodging, ($150 a night for an average quality room) double your $ budget. The best places were in Newfoundland where we found an apartment for $129 a night for 3 nights,The Comerford Suites, in Holyrood overlooking a quiet bay's harbor. Don't forget to look for wild blueberries on your walks. Blueberry season was just beginning while we were there so only enough berries for our cereal were ripe then. Most of the Motels allow pets, but it was so cool while we were there (3 nights in July) that sleeping in the car was no problem for our dog. "Waves" in Clarenville, Newfoundland was the nicest place we stayed in, the whole trip. They had a fitness center with an indoor lap pool, plus they even had a bed for dogs in the room. It was clean, the staff were really nice and there was free breakfast. The price was average compared to the other motels where we stayed. Trans Labrador Highway: Their review is 90% accurate!!! Road conditions, gas and motels, sights, wildlife etc. Now, we didn't have any flat tires, we bought new ones for our minivan and checked all the things on her that may go wrong traveling on rough roads! (read pot holes, washboard surfaces, soft shoulders, stay well away from large trucks because of the rocks falling or thrown from them.) We also didn't see ANY moose, only a bear who looked at us through the front passenger window. We were advised to call ahead using the Labrador guide book for a room for each night, many times we saw people turned away because all rooms were booked and were glad we followed the advice. If you are traveling from the east coast of Labrador, follow the same advice until Quebec City. The road from Labrador City to Quebec city isn't any better than The Trans Labrador Highway while we were there. Even busting the budget we totally loved being in such beauty! We're glad we went when we did, being in our mid 70s we most likely won't be able to go back, physically OR fiscally! It is ALL WORTH IT,,,,IF you are ready to accept the limitations outlined here.

  • Nikki
    January 23, 2013 - 00:28

    I'm a Newfoundlander living in the US. I've seen the increase in visitors yearly and felt ecstatic. I went home for a summer in 2010 and found it impossible to stay at an RV site except in May and September for a week here and there. The rest of the time we asked people if we could park by their shops, homes, etc. as well as driving to beaches, with no roads, just to have a place to stay. All the Pond area, years ago, I remember seeing people park and spend a weekend or so are now blocked with large BOULDERS. Where are we all supposed to stay to enjoy this beautiful, special part of the planet??? Someone needs to develop more RV sites for one thing. I know it's a challenge due to the limited time of usage. Perhaps they should be Government Parks???? Everyone I know who's visited the Isle loves it and the especially the people. However, I hear the same complaints....not enough Hotels, RV facilities, rental cars and B & B's. Most people I know RV and have been very disillusioned. We drove the entire Island with next to no luck from Pippy Park to Lance Aux Meadows. At least there they let you hang a night or two at the center. I have gone home many summers, for many years, when I did not have an RV and a car rental had been a big issue for me as well. Even made a reservation 6 months in advance to have NO car upon arrival at the airport. is an issue and also grocery stores for supplies when traveling outside the few larger communities. If you do not know people or can buy fresh and cook your own food the norm is lots of horrid fat and bad food (served by dalring people). Where does one go for supplies to gather in small towns (of which there are many as we know)?? Newfie food can be wonderful (when cooked the way I knew it growing up)...I just wish there were more restaurants that serve it. Jackie's and another Restaurant I can't think of the name now in Rocky Harbour is awesome and Chess's Fish and Chips in Downtown St. John's is great as well. Otherwise there a lot of awful places and pricy places I've eaten in which were a definite disappointment indeed. It's wonderful Tourism is getting better but accommodations of all sorts are needed an needed quickly.

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 09:35

      Many people, and more every year, simply park their RV anywhere they like in Newfoundland, some for the entire summer, and often right inside a one here has the sense or the gonads to stop them or even say anything (we're so nice, you know!). They contribute exactly nothing to the "great tourism industry", and they put severe price pressure on accomodations owners, who pay taxes in the very towns who allow the indiscrimanant sqatting. It is simply, incredibly, impossibly stupid....quick, more TV ads!

  • Unreal
    January 22, 2013 - 13:40

    I can hardly believe that people of this beautiful province can act so negatively toward good news. Sure things can always be better, but if it isn't complaints about the job the government is doing, its complaints about increase in taxes. Many of the people in this province have gotten real good at sitting back and complaining while never doing anything to better it themselves. We as supposed to be known for positive attitudes, outlooks, hospitality and good natures. Maybe you should look at yourselves for a reason why anything is declining in the province. This place is beautiful, the new tourism advertisements are nothing short of award winning. I applaud the effort despite the fact they will never get the true recognition they deserve. Bravo!

    • david
      January 22, 2013 - 16:28

      This intellectually weak concept of just "being positive"... being positive is no substitue for putting some solid thought, effort and genuine insight into things, For far too long, no one has done anytihng except depend on the winds of fate and "positive thinking" for success. Everyone with a lotto ticket thinks positively....duh. So stop being "stupid, lazy and positive".....we're shameful proof that it just doesn't work.

    • Whiny Dave
      January 23, 2013 - 08:28

      Sure, and what has whiny negativism accomplished? Nothing. Actually less than nothing because negative people don't even have the courage to try.

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 09:25

      Whiny, next draw comin' right up, and you'll win this time for sure!

  • Don II
    January 22, 2013 - 09:53

    It appears that the concept of truth in advertising and promotion of historical authenticity is not embraced by the Government of Newfoundland Department of Tourism. The Department of Tourism appears to rely on the strategy of repeating misinformation as often as possible until the public accepts it as fact. With access to millions of tax payer dollars to spend on advertising the Department of Tourism can spread its misinformation far and wide. The tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is heavily promoted, financially subsidized, overly regulated and planned by the Government of Newfoundland. Without such overt Government involvement, the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador would not survive. The Department of Tourism has an entrenched policy of promoting tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador regardless of the lack of authenticity or financial viability. The Department of Tourism has even gone so far as to create the Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site in order to commemorate the fictional Cupids Cove Plantation, a place which is never mentioned in the historic record of Newfoundland and Labrador! How many other fictional scenarios has the Department of Tourism cooked up to promote its poorly researched and politically skewed version of Newfoundland and Labrador history? I have seen Government funded propaganda that promotes dug out canoes as being an authentic part of Newfoundland history when the historical record shows that the indigenous people of the Island of Newfoundland, the BEOTHUK never used dug out canoes. I have seen Government promoted tourism propaganda that apparently relied on computer generated images of whales jumping out of the sea right on cue for the tourists camera. In other Government tourism propaganda I have seen what appears to be computer enhanced colorized images of houses and villages that are an unrealistic portrayal of reality. I have spoken to tourists from Britain, France, the USA and other places who met with flight delays, ferry cancellations, poor quality restaurants, high priced hotels, motels, B&B's and who could not obtain a car to rent during the peak tourism season. The tourists all told me that THEY were blamed for not planning their trip properly. All of these tourists assured me that it would be their first and last visit to Newfoundland and Labrador!

  • david
    January 22, 2013 - 09:51

    Tourism has peaked and is in decline...but of course, it will be the government, acting with our worthless money, who will be the very last to know or admit it. The cost and reliability of the ferry is many people's "introduction" to Newfoundland ---- Fool me once, ..... It's just a matter of time before someone finally exposes that whole shmozzle in an influential tourism blog and the show's over. Notwithstanding any of that, the government has decided that every little 2-dory cove in Newfoundland should hitch its wagon to becoming a tourist magnet for 6 weeks a year .... how utterly, utterly impossible, shamefully deceitful, and cruel. Government here really is nothing but a cancer.

    • Whiny Dave
      January 22, 2013 - 09:58

      You're attitude toward everything in this province is the cancer. Another day of the Negative Newfie. Do something about it rather than whine all the time. Oops, that would require some effort. Nah, better to sit back, whine and enjoy the welfare.

    • david
      January 22, 2013 - 16:13

      Believe me, I dream of the day when there is something "not stupid" to discuss. But that's what this place has...endless stupid politicians, endless stupid decisions, endless stupid remarks, endless stupid criminals, and endless stupid opinions of other people's opinions ---- including the Newfoundland favorite: shooting the messenger -- because that fixes everything!

    • Whiny Dave
      January 23, 2013 - 08:21

      With all the endless stupid comments then why do you feel the need to add your own. In fact, why do you even bother to read the news. Your endless negativity without ever once providing a suggestion on how to make things better only makes you a part of the problem - the endless stupidity.

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 09:41

      What exactly is the point of YOUR comments? If mine are so offbase, there must be more to your POV than insults and slurs...empirical facts, thoughts, corrections, retorts? No? Nothing? Just the insults then?

  • MBC
    January 22, 2013 - 09:34

    French and Davis got a lot of work to do to attract tourists to this province. Most of all ROADS need to be improved and improved. BTW what would/could French do if not a politician?

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    January 22, 2013 - 08:53

    I agree with the previous posts. I have seen first hand a decline in tourism on our area. The most common complaint I hear is the cost of the ferry service. We are simply pricing ourselves out of the market place. You can pretty well do an all inclusive vacation to Cuba cheaper than what it is to come here.

  • Brian
    January 22, 2013 - 07:32

    Well Mr. French, we would have a lot more visitors by road except for the cost to get here by ferry. When NL. joined confederation this service was guaranteed with minimum cost to the public, however we keep seeing higher and higher fees and numerous comments fron former visitors who do not come any more due to cost of ferry. Where is our government on this issue, not a word, I now challenge Mr, French to publicly announce this governments displeasure with ferry costs and a promise to deal with the federal government for more of a subsidy to reduce costs to travellers. I await a public response!!!!!

    • Too Funny
      January 22, 2013 - 08:36

      Good luck with that. The province would have to lead by example and do the same with it's ferries first.