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LETTER: N.L. needs to market itself more as destination for Irish tourists

Newfoundland and Labrador's "Find Yourself" advertising campaign has won more awards.
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I have just returned from my first ever visit to Newfoundland — I travelled over from Ireland to stay with my friend, DeeDee Reid, in St Johns.

Prior to my departure I had not processed my trip, I was just looking forward to seeing my friend again and to meeting her family and friends.

In hindsight, I now know I could never have imagined what a great trip it would be, the hospitality of Newfoundlanders is well documented, but I was not prepared for the kindness and warmth of so many people. I truly felt at home and at ease , something I have never felt in any other country outside of Ireland.

My friend and her sisters showed me their beautiful island. I knew it was called the Rock, now I know why. Its rugged beauty touched me.

For 10 glorious days we toured around, seeing Bonavista and neighbouring areas, Signal Hill, Petty Harbour, Downtown St. John’s, The Rooms, The Basilica, Topsail Beach, the boat tour where the whales put on a spectacular show — but above all it was the kindness of the people that touched me most. Their warmth, and kindness and their sense of humour, never ceased to amaze me.

I was always aware of the shared history and culture between our two islands. I had read many articles on this subject, and knew the Irish had brought their culture/music over with them, when they emigrated in their thousands all those years ago. But to see it for myself was just amazing. Newfoundlanders are quite rightly proud of their own culture and island, but many still embrace the Irish culture, too.

When I boarded the plane in Dublin I was told I was the only Irish passenger on board. I took little notice of this, but then started thinking of how much money my fellow passengers had spent in Ireland. Tourism is pivotal to the Irish economy. On my return flight, I was once again the sole Irish person, and this got me thinking — never have I seen an advertisement for Newfoundland here in Ireland.

It is beyond my comprehension why the Newfoundland tourism board is not tapping into the Irish market.

It is beyond my comprehension why the Newfoundland tourism board is not tapping into the Irish market.

On another note as many of your readers are aware, WestJet has discontinued direct flights between our islands. It now takes a 7-hour flight — not counting in the stopover — for what should be a 4.5-hour flight. This alone has to hinder tourism from Ireland.

In conclusion, I would like to say a big thank you to DeeDee Reid and her family, and to all the people who took the time to come meet me, during my stay. Please be assured I will be back, and in the meantime I will be doing my bit for Newfoundland tourism, and hopefully I will see Newfoundland being advertised here in Ireland sometime soon.

And hopefully some other airline will start direct flights.

We have a saying here “A dumb priest never got a parish.” So pester the powers that be to contact airlines on your behalf.

Newfoundland and its people are both beautiful, I will always treasure the time I got to spend there.

Anne Kelly Devereux,
Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland


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