Tourism is growing
The Business of Tourism is the fastest growing economic sector in the world, leading the way in foreign exchange earnings and job creation. It’s also the world’s largest export earner.
Travel to Newfoundland and Labrador has increased year over year over the past few years and according to the 2011 exit survey, tourism revenues for this province have surpassed 1 billion dollars. This is good news for all tourism operators and even better news for those of us operating in the areas of the province that are considered tourism destinations, such as Twillingate.
A tourism destination
You may wonder what makes a tourism destination. Well, I will give you my personal definition although I’m sure there several different ones available. A tourism destination is a town, city or location that has a number of things to see and do supported by adequate accommodations, allowing visitors to stay multiple days.
A small island in the North Atlantic, Twillingate is one of the most picturesque outports in all of Newfoundland and Labrador and one of the province’s most popular rural outport destinations, we are proud to boast.
Located on the edge of what is known as Iceberg Alley, Twillingate is known as the “Iceberg Capital of the World”. Many of the 10,000 year old iceberg giants float by quietly each year and people travel great distances just to chance a glance. Icebergs create an anchor attraction that have paved the way for many other attractions such as boat tours, whale watching, interpretative museums, coastal hikes, a renovated lighthouse and other historic landmarks.
Role of the tourism operator (Creating the Experience)
As a tourism operator in a top rural destination we have an important role to play in the continued success of our local tourism industry. Helping to create the experience that visitors anticipate can never be accomplished by one lone operator. Working in partnership with other tourism operators to market our destination and to deliver memorable experiences is the key to a successful travel destination and to a successful tourism operation.
I’m often referred to by our visitors as the ‘concierge’ and as the concierge I spend a lot of time sharing what I know about Twillingate and what I believe the “must sees” are. I once even played the “ugly stick” and sang but that was likely a one-time only performance! To play a role in helping someone create a memorable experience is humbling; sharing the stories of our small outport with those who visit is an honour and marketing Twillingate to the world is a joy.
The Anchor Inn Hotel and Suites consist of 14 hotel rooms, 8 self-catering suites, an oceanview restaurant; Georgie’s named after Twillingate’s famous opera singer from the early 1900s, Georgina Stirling, and a pub (Captain’s Pub) named after Twillingate’s many famous sea captains.
As hotel operators, we recognize that accommodations and meals are only a part of being successful. Therefore our team is committed to creating, assisting and enhancing our guests’ experience during their visit to Twillingate in every way we can: service, culture, history and engagement complete the visitor experience.
Tourism has an enormous impact on a local community. Two thousand five hundred people live in Twillingate and a significant number of Twillingaters have seasonal employment in the tourism industry. In 2011 the local tourism industry generated an estimated $18 million, not counting revenue from day visitors. But that is just the tip of the iceberg! Not only does growth in Tourism increase the Town’s tax base, it also facilitates growth in supporting industries such as retail and construction. In a small community and in the tourism industry a symbiotic relationship exists between community and commerce where the one can clearly not exist without the other.
Deborah Bourden is co-owner of the Anchor Inn Hotel and Suites, a business she acquired in 2011 after exchanging years as a successful internet marketer for the tourism industry. Deborah left Twillingate at the age of 17 and after a career in Toronto and St. John’s, she returned to her home town – something she had never dreamed of. She has just completed the extensive renovations of this 26-room hotel, restaurant and pub and the Anchor Inn Hotel and Suites accepted the 2012 Adventure Central Accommodator of the Year Award and the 2013 NL Tourism Business of the Year award with great pride.