Passion for Partnerships! Building a Competitive Tourism Industry in NL

We consider ourselves the luckiest women in the world!  Why?…Because we get to work in the tourism industry, a dynamic and growing sector of our economy, in the most friendly and authentic province in Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador.  We are delighted to co-write this blog and share a little about our organizations. It is no coincidence that our topic is passion and partnerships.  Nowhere will you find more passionate, hardworking and fun loving people than those working in tourism in this province.  Our industry thrives on partnerships and the opportunities to work with other passionate people with common goals.

As leaders of industry associations we have heard for years from tourism operators that there are many resources and organizations out there to assist them, however, the path to support is sometimes confusing.  That is why partnerships are so important!  Over the past four years we have made a concerted effort in NL to align all activities that support tourism businesses, clearly communicating our roles to industry.  It started with focus – we outlined our priorities and set about ensuring we were performing roles that supported operators, guided by the goals of Uncommon Potential: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism.

Partnerships – Defining roles!

Hospitality NL and five regional DMOs (Labrador, Western, Central, Eastern and St. John’s) together with our industry partners at the provincial Tourism Board table formed a private/public partnership.  We outlined the roles of each group and began to communicate them to industry, enabling them to understand where they could go when help was needed.

Eastern Destination Management Organization Inc. (EDMO)

The Eastern DMO is the newest in the link of the five DMOs.  EDMO represents the tourism industry on the Bonavista and BurinPeninsulas and the rural areas of the Northern and Southern Avalon.  The EDMO provides support in marketing, product development, and quality assurance, and works very closely with all stakeholders in the destination to improve market readiness and the visitor experience.  Our mandate is to increase visitation and spending in the destination and build memorable experiences that keep visitors coming back.

Hospitality NL

Hospitality NL is the provincial tourism industry association, representing tourism services and attractions throughout the province.  Hospitality NL provides support to tourism operators primarily in advocacy, communications and training.  Our mandate is to grow the tourism industry in NL by building a competitive environment for tourism businesses.  We focus our advocacy on provincial level issues that impact the short and long term growth and development of tourism. Our communications focus on information and research that operators need to know to grow their individual businesses and improve their competitiveness. Our training is focused on customer service for front-line employees and market-readiness for managers and owners.

 

Destination Development and Tourism Assurance Plans – Two new initiatives to build our competitiveness!

Knowing who and what we are as a tourism destination through the lens of the visitor is an important foundation for recognizing our level of competiveness globally.  Hospitality NL and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation in partnership with the DMOs recently embarked on a Destination Development Plan  entitled a Tourism Destination Visitor Appeal Process.  The appraisal is designed to provide a foundation of knowledge about Newfoundland and Labrador’s “appeal” from the customer’s perspective. Understanding the appeal of the destination’s assets and attributes and the tourism activities that deliver on the provincial brand promise is vital.  Together with Hospitality NL, DTCR, and industry, the Eastern Destination will be the pioneers in implementing the process.

Tourism Assurance Plan

Today’s tourist is far more travel-savvy than in the past, demanding that experiences and services match their expectations.  All travelers have come to expect a minimum standard of professionalism. These minimum expectations can range from the business being properly licensed to providing timely responses to inquiries, just to name a few.

To ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism industry is able to remain competitive in the global market, a new Tourism Assurance Plan (TAP) has been developed. TAP is the first step in providing assurance to travelers about the quality of tourism services and attractions being promoted in the province. This strategy will come into effect May 31, 2014 for all promotional and marketing programs.

Our passion for the Industry

We enjoy, no, we love working in the tourism industry!  They say that the hardest part of developing tourism is managing its complexity, and for us, this is the core challenge. Tourism is a dynamic industry ranging from huge corporations to small to medium sized businesses.  It happens in cities, towns and small remote communities.  Developing partnerships is vital yet challenging in such a diverse sector but we work hard at it because we have the opportunity to be ambassadors for NL to travellers from all over the world! J  Above all else, we are attracted to tourism because we get to develop an industry that is truly only successful if you balance economic, social and environmental goals. Those of us working in the tourism industry in NL are the envy of our colleagues from around the world. Newfoundland and Labrador is our home – we are proud to share it with the world.

Women in Tourism

What would a blog for NLOWE be without mentioning the women of tourism in our province! Our industry has many dynamic and passionate women who own and operate tourism businesses throughout NL. These women are strong, capable, passionate, savvy business people, who are our mentors in life and in work.  Tourism is one of the most complex industries in the world …perhaps that’s why there are so many women involved!

SME’s are the backbone of the tourism industry (82%) in NL, which is why it gives us great pleasure to clarify our support roles for business owners and assist them every day in becoming more competitive.

It’s not only our passion to work in tourism…it’s our pleasure!

Kathi Stacey head shot

Kathi Stacey is Executive Director of the Eastern NL Destination Management Organization dedicated to working with tourism operators in building and promoting rural Eastern NL as a “destination of choice” for visitors. She can be reached at www.easternnldmo.com.

Carol Ann Gilliard-headshot (3)

Carol-Ann Gilliard is the CEO of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and is dedicated to building tourism into a competitive industry for tourism business owners and operators throughout the province. She can be reached at www.hnl.ca.

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