— 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 www.newfoundlandlabrador.com.
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.