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August 6, 2001
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)


Minister provides updates on 2001 tourism season

Kevin Aylward, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, today commented on 2001 tourism performance to date. 

"The tourism season has presented some very positive signs thus far, indicating that we will have another successful year overall," said Minister Aylward. "Visitation to the province continues to be strong and growing, as evidenced by the 15 per cent increase in inquiries for travel planning information through our toll-free number."

Non-resident tourism activity has grown a remarkable 37 per cent in recent years, with tourist expenditures, including resident tourism, of more than $600 million last year. This year's picture is pointing to similar results with the following increases over the same periods last year:

  • 12 per cent increase in direct international arrivals at St. John's airport from January through June;
  • seven per cent increase in hotel occupancy rates from January through April; two per cent increase in visitors to the provincial tourism chalets between mid-May and the end of June;
  • two per cent increase in visitors to the provincial historic sites during June;
  • 10 per cent increase in reservations made through the toll-free number over the first six months, with the value of these reservations increasing 34 per cent;
  • 24 per cent increase in reservations through the toll-free number in June, with the value of these reservations nearly double (88 per cent) that of last year; and,
  • 49 per cent increase in cruise ship activity.

Minister Aylward added, "Given the figures being reported so far and the fact that the tourism season is broadening and there is an increase in shoulder season visitation, I am optimistic about tourism performance overall for this year. 

"The growth we have been experiencing is driven in part by an increase in awareness of the province as a tourism destination through FAM tours organized and hosted by our staff in cooperation with other tourism partners. Seeing is believing, and through FAM tours we provide opportunities for tour operators, journalists and other travel trade groups from around the world to experience for themselves what our province has to offer."

Familiarization (FAM) tours are one of the destination marketing tools used by the department, as it informs key travel influencers, through first hand experiences, of the tourism products and attractions in Newfoundland and Labrador. The benefits derived are national and international editorial coverage of Newfoundland and Labrador as a vacation destination and the inclusion of the tourism products and services offered by the province in tour programs and packages offered throughout the world.

The department has already confirmed some 110 groups to participate in travel trade and media FAM tours for this year, with additional tours for the fall yet to be confirmed. The groups come from other parts of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, England, Switzerland, Holland and Germany and represent various market sectors including sightseeing touring, enrichment/learning, meetings/conventions and incentive travel, international trade, cruise and media. 

The minister continued, "This year we have an award winning advertising campaign. Our new advertising creative development resulted in a new Travel Guide, Outdoor Adventure Guide, print ads and an exciting television ad campaign. This campaign won a gold, a silver and two bronze medals at the annual Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Summit Awards held in New York in the spring.

"These initiatives along with the province's Special Celebrations program, our core destination marketing efforts and innovative advertising campaigns, have helped us reach a point where our competitors are starting to stand up and take a close look at how we are doing things right. We have the people, the product and province that will ensure that our vibrant tourism industry continues to grow."

Media contact: Catherina Kennedy, Communications, (709) 729-0928. 

2001 08 06                                                          1:25 p.m.

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