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Early start to the tourism season


The chair of Adventure Central says tourism in the area is off to a great start this year.

“From what I can gather, we have seen our bookings more than double for June. Last year, we got off to a gradual start and it built towards July but, this year, it’s been busy from the first day or June right to the last,” Wayne Hallett said.

Hallett owns Prints of Whales Inn in Sandringham. While his business is thriving, he said, he’s checked with other bed and breakfast and hotels in central Newfoundland who are also pleasantly surprised to be experiencing similar increases.

“It’s not so much with the cabins because those favour families and local tourists whereas the bed and breakfasts and hotels tend to cater to people outside the province,” he said.

Several guests who have stayed at his inn already this summer have come from several areas of the United States.

“And we see people coming here from The Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain.”

Hallett said many of his guests are Canadians who – in other years – may have gone south for their vacations.

However, with the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar, people are choosing to vacation in their home country.

Hallett doesn’t believe the 16.5 cent per litre gas tax increase contained in the budget will mean fewer tourists will come to central Newfoundland.

For many, he said, the price of gas is not a big jump above the price people are already paying in their home provinces.

“We are above what most would be paying but not dramatically so. And most of our guests would fly into St. John’s, Deer Lake or Gander and rent a car and drive (to their destination).”

Many European tourists prefer to visit during the shoulder season, Hallett said, either before the close of the school year or after school opens in September.

In terms of a peak tourism season, Hallett said that usually happens when the various festivals take place.

“Our July and August are always busy. We are booked a year in advance for the Winterset Literary Festival (that takes place in August),” he said.

By mid-September, Hallett said, business slows down with most guests leaving by mid-October.

Hallett said one of the biggest challenges tourism operators are facing is determining whether this year’s fantastic month of June is something that will happen every year.

If so, he said, operators need to begin offering services in June rather than holding off until July.

“Most of our guests don’t complain about the weather but they complain that they go to do or see something but that it’s not available.”

The challenge is that offering services earlier into the season means added costs for the service provider.

“Many of the businesses rely on students out of high school and university to support the work — to open early is going to be a challenge,” Hallett explained.

Adventure Central’s Destination Development Plan initiative is looking at ways to enhance tourism in the area, Hallett said.

Once all the information is compiled and finalized, he said, Adventure Central will work on implementing the recommendations.

Trends

David Boyd owns Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre in Twillingate.

The tourism season is already in full swing, Boyd said, during a phone interview in late June.

There were more tourists in the area in June this year than in previous years, he said.

“The season may not have started earlier but there are more people en masse here earlier,” he said.

There are also a lot more accommodations available to visitors, according to Boyd.

When asked about the main tourist attractions in the area, Boyd said, the season can be divided into various time periods, with predictable trends.

“You have your iceberg tours, then you have the family vacation time when the kids are out of school,” he said. “Then, later, you see more senior couples coming – people who are taking a leisure vacation but avoiding the summer rush. They want to enjoy Newfoundland the latter part of August and into September.”

This season has been a great one for icebergs, Boyd said, and fishing tours are also popular.

A driving factor in bringing tourists to the area is the power of social media and how quickly spectacular images can be transmitted around the world.

“I had some ladies out on a boat tour with me the other day from Taiwan,” he said. “Here they were sending pictures live to their family in Taiwan. Getting their response back and chatting live with people in Taiwan while they are close to an iceberg here in the North Atlantic.”

Such technology was unheard of years ago, he said.

“But it’s absolutely incredible.”

Tourism in the Twillingate area is not only doing well but seems to be thriving.

“Tourism is becoming a very important part of the economy, bringing new dollars in,” Boyd said.

danette@nl.rogers.com

“From what I can gather, we have seen our bookings more than double for June. Last year, we got off to a gradual start and it built towards July but, this year, it’s been busy from the first day or June right to the last,” Wayne Hallett said.

Hallett owns Prints of Whales Inn in Sandringham. While his business is thriving, he said, he’s checked with other bed and breakfast and hotels in central Newfoundland who are also pleasantly surprised to be experiencing similar increases.

“It’s not so much with the cabins because those favour families and local tourists whereas the bed and breakfasts and hotels tend to cater to people outside the province,” he said.

Several guests who have stayed at his inn already this summer have come from several areas of the United States.

“And we see people coming here from The Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain.”

Hallett said many of his guests are Canadians who – in other years – may have gone south for their vacations.

However, with the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar, people are choosing to vacation in their home country.

Hallett doesn’t believe the 16.5 cent per litre gas tax increase contained in the budget will mean fewer tourists will come to central Newfoundland.

For many, he said, the price of gas is not a big jump above the price people are already paying in their home provinces.

“We are above what most would be paying but not dramatically so. And most of our guests would fly into St. John’s, Deer Lake or Gander and rent a car and drive (to their destination).”

Many European tourists prefer to visit during the shoulder season, Hallett said, either before the close of the school year or after school opens in September.

In terms of a peak tourism season, Hallett said that usually happens when the various festivals take place.

“Our July and August are always busy. We are booked a year in advance for the Winterset Literary Festival (that takes place in August),” he said.

By mid-September, Hallett said, business slows down with most guests leaving by mid-October.

Hallett said one of the biggest challenges tourism operators are facing is determining whether this year’s fantastic month of June is something that will happen every year.

If so, he said, operators need to begin offering services in June rather than holding off until July.

“Most of our guests don’t complain about the weather but they complain that they go to do or see something but that it’s not available.”

The challenge is that offering services earlier into the season means added costs for the service provider.

“Many of the businesses rely on students out of high school and university to support the work — to open early is going to be a challenge,” Hallett explained.

Adventure Central’s Destination Development Plan initiative is looking at ways to enhance tourism in the area, Hallett said.

Once all the information is compiled and finalized, he said, Adventure Central will work on implementing the recommendations.

Trends

David Boyd owns Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre in Twillingate.

The tourism season is already in full swing, Boyd said, during a phone interview in late June.

There were more tourists in the area in June this year than in previous years, he said.

“The season may not have started earlier but there are more people en masse here earlier,” he said.

There are also a lot more accommodations available to visitors, according to Boyd.

When asked about the main tourist attractions in the area, Boyd said, the season can be divided into various time periods, with predictable trends.

“You have your iceberg tours, then you have the family vacation time when the kids are out of school,” he said. “Then, later, you see more senior couples coming – people who are taking a leisure vacation but avoiding the summer rush. They want to enjoy Newfoundland the latter part of August and into September.”

This season has been a great one for icebergs, Boyd said, and fishing tours are also popular.

A driving factor in bringing tourists to the area is the power of social media and how quickly spectacular images can be transmitted around the world.

“I had some ladies out on a boat tour with me the other day from Taiwan,” he said. “Here they were sending pictures live to their family in Taiwan. Getting their response back and chatting live with people in Taiwan while they are close to an iceberg here in the North Atlantic.”

Such technology was unheard of years ago, he said.

“But it’s absolutely incredible.”

Tourism in the Twillingate area is not only doing well but seems to be thriving.

“Tourism is becoming a very important part of the economy, bringing new dollars in,” Boyd said.

danette@nl.rogers.com

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