Tourists’ spending surpasses $1 billion

Daniel MacEachern
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Tourism spending in Newfoundland and Labrador topped $1 billion for the first time in 2011, according to figures released Thursday by the provincial government.

Tourism Minister Terry French, speaking at a luncheon at the Delta Hotel in

St. John’s as part of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual conference, drew applause from the crowd of hundreds, made up largely of representatives from the tourism industry, when he made the announcement.

“Clearly, we’re well on our way to achieving the target we set out for ourselves in the Uncommon Potential document,” he said, referring to a strategy released by then-tourism minister Clyde Jackman that set a goal of doubling annual tourism revenue to $1.6 billion by 2020.

In 2011, non-resident visitors spent $424.4 million within the province, while the more than four million trips taken by residents within the province generated $580.2 million in revenue.

The amount of revenue in 2012 hasn’t been tabulated yet, but last year the number of non-resident visitors to the province topped half a million, to about 504,000.

Two years ago, the province announced non-resident visitation hit 518,000 in 2010 — but that, French said Thursday, was under a less-accurate methodology than the one the government started using in 2011.

The 504,000 non-resident visitors in 2012 also represented a 10 per cent increase over 2011, putting that year’s number around 460,000. That would mean the number of visitors in 2010 would have been less than 460,000, had the new survey method been used at the time.

“We went through an interesting process. We changed the methodology on how we did business,” he said. “We changed everything in the queue in how we count people, because obviously you can’t count every single one, so you get percentages that come to airports, come through on rubber-tire traffic and so on, and you have an equation.”

Visitor numbers have been going up steadily, said French, crediting tourism operators.

“You have to take your hat off to the people in this industry. They’re very innovative. They’re creative,” he said, pointing to Target’s popular, long-running Find Yourself campaign. “It’s a credit to the people in this room. When the announcement’s made, it’s very exciting for us,” said Darlene Thomas, chairwoman of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. “You’re seeing other provinces, over the last few years, have been really seeing decreases, and even in those really tough times, we were seeing small increases, so to see it now elevate again to some good numbers is exciting for the industry.”

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, Delta Hotel

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • California Pete from NFLD
    February 23, 2013 - 11:51

    Why don't you count the Chickens before they lay egg's !!!

  • david
    February 22, 2013 - 11:36

    So if someone from Clarenville eats a sandwich in Brigus, this apparently counts as "tourism revenue" if that sandwich or any groceries whatseover, would have gone uneaten if this "tourist" had stayed home. Well then, I will report the following fantastic news: As every tourist that comes to the province comes and goes with some cash in their wallet, I have calculated that Newfoundland is now a major player in "international banking", bringing in an estimated $16 trillion dollars into the provincial economy every month.

  • Eli
    February 22, 2013 - 08:57

    Chin up Paul, & keep up the cheating, some people just love it.

  • david
    February 22, 2013 - 08:19

    This is an absolute crock of BS. A billion dollars!?! Who in a half-removed mind believes that !? A fine example of "government counting"....we didn't actually "count" or "measure" anything, but we made up a formula, applied our own completely self-serving, baseless fudge factors, and lo and behold, we're now the top tourist destination in the modern world. Next up: market demand for Muskrat Fallls electricity. (.......Hint: it will surprise you !)

  • Eli
    February 22, 2013 - 07:57

    Paul Lane & Steve Kent influence these figures, or was it time for French to come out from under the woodwork to remind us why we're paying him $150,000.00 + ministerial costs?

    • Mr.K
      February 22, 2013 - 08:36

      Haters always will hate..chin up Paul!!