Tourism, Culture and Recreation
February 18, 2008

Tourism Growth Highlighted at Industry�s 25th AGM and Conference

About 350 members of the province�s tourism industry gathered at Hotel Gander February 14-17 for Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador�s 25th annual general meeting and conference, providing an opportunity to reflect on how the industry has grown since 1983, and focus on where it is going in the future.

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, attended the event, noting Newfoundland and Labrador�s tourism industry today bears little resemblance to that which existed 25 years ago.

"In 1983, there were about 150 accommodation properties in Newfoundland and Labrador, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, cabins and cottages. Today, there are about 650," Minister Jackman said. "Most significantly, in 1983, non-resident tourism injected about $73 million into the provincial economy each year. Today, visitors contribute about $360 million to an $840 million industry."

Minister Jackman noted Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and its advocacy on behalf of tourism operators has helped grow what is today a vibrant industry which fuels economies in both urban and rural regions of the province.

"The Provincial Government has, meanwhile, been very proactive in the area of tourism development from day one and has, in fact, increased the tourism marketing budget each year since taking office in 2003," Minister Jackman said. "We invested an extra $1 million in 2004; $1 million in 2005; $2 million in 2006; another $1 million in 2007 and the province will invest yet another $1 million for tourism marketing in 2008 � doubling the annual tourism marketing budget from $6 million to $12 million in the past five years."

The conference events also included Minister Jackman�s presentation of two prestigious awards, the Cultural Tourism Award and the Doug Wheeler Award.

Shirley Montague, a musician and storyteller, and one of Newfoundland and Labrador�s foremost cultural ambassadors, was presented with the Cultural Tourism Award, sponsored in partnership with the federal Department of Canadian Heritage, the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, and Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Ms. Montague�s singing talents were first recognized in Labrador and, upon moving to the west coast of the island in 1975 and recording Gros Morne: The Musical Journey, she established a new way of interpreting our culture, landscape, geology, and the environment," Minister Jackman said. "She has been instrumental in the Gros Morne Musicians in Residence Program and the creation of the cultural festival Trails, Tales and Tunes, which is especially designed to integrate the natural beauty of the Gros Morne area with music and storytelling."

The Doug Wheeler Award is presented annually to honour Mr. Wheeler, a provincial civil servant, who passed away in 1981. The award commemorates his efforts to promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a tourism destination, and the high standards he employed while doing so.

Minister Jackman presented this year�s award to John and Peggy Fisher, owners and operators of Fishers� Loft Inn in Port Rexton.

"Twelve years ago, the Fishers set out to create a friendly retreat where visitors could relax and escape everyday stresses � all while experiencing the unique culture and charm Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer," Minister Jackman said. "Today, through hard work and dedication, they have turned their vision into a successful business and, in the process, have become advocates and leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador�s tourism industry."

In the past five years, visitation to Newfoundland and Labrador has increased, on average, by about three per cent annually, or 15 per cent overall. The province�s tourism industry supports more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs annually.


Photo #1:
Bruce Sparkes, left, President of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL), and the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, join musician and storyteller Shirley Montague, who received the Cultural Tourism Award at HNL�s 25th annual genral meeting and conference in Gander over the weekend.

Photo #2:
Bruce Sparkes, left, President of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL), and the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, are pictured with John and Peggy Fisher, owners and operators of Fishers� Loft inn in Port Rexton, this year�s recipients of the Doug Wheeler Award, during HNL�s 25th annual general meeting in Gander this past weekend. The Fishers received an original painting of a scene from Quidi Vidi Village by Natalia Charapova.


Media contact:

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 697-5061

2008 02 18                                                   10:25 a.m.


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