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Tourism, Culture and Recreation
September 8, 2009

Early Indicators Point to Positive Tourism Performance

Newfoundland and Labrador�s tourism industry appears to be bucking the national trend, reporting strong visitation despite a worldwide recession and early concerns that 2009 would be a disappointing year.

"As we move through our traditional peak season, early indicators show this province�s tourism industry is performing better than expected," said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. "Earlier this year, when global economic conditions led to predictions of poor tourism performance across the country, we made a conscious decision to continue to market aggressively outside the province; focus increased attention on our resident campaign, and engage in new opportunities through social media networking � and these efforts are clearly paying off."

The minister noted, for example, that statistics to the end of July show that:

  • Overall non-resident visitation has increased 0.7 per cent over the same period in 2008;
  • Traffic at Provincial Visitor Information Centres is up about nine per cent, with almost 70,000 visitors reported up to the end of July;
  • The number of camping units registered at Newfoundland and Labrador�s provincial parks is up 18 per cent per cent overall � with all 13 parks reporting increases;
  • Occupancy at roofed accommodations is up one percentage point compared to the same period last year;
  • Non-resident traffic on Marine Atlantic is up 4.4 per cent over 2008, while resident traffic exiting the province is down almost one per cent; and,
  • Interest in Newfoundland and Labrador as a travel destination has increased, as evidenced by the fact that visits to the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism website are up 29 per cent;
  • "We recognize these are preliminary figures, and that there are � at this point � differing levels of visitation across regions," said Minister Jackman. "However, given the impact of economic conditions on the national and international travel industry, we are very encouraged by our performance to date and are looking forward to another successful tourism year."

    Bruce Sparkes, President of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL), said the Provincial Government and industry have been working together to identify issues and take intervening measures to maximize tourism opportunities this year.

    "Reports from many operators indicate that they are doing better than anticipated and, in some cases, numbers are actually up over last year," said Mr. Sparkes. "Operators are seeing many resident visitors this year, indicating that people are staying closer to home and taking advantage of all the wonderful products and services the province has to offer. HNL is pleased with the results of the For the Love of NL resident marketing campaign, and we look forward to hearing season-end reports from operators as the busy period comes to a close."

    Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation provides an additional $1 million for tourism marketing, bringing the total annual budget to $13 million, and an additional $150,000 to continue tourism season extension projects in the Discovery Trail and Viking Trail regions of the province.

    In February of this year, the province released a long-term tourism strategy entitled Uncommon Potential: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, which focuses on seven strategic directions to further develop the tourism industry. It can be viewed at:

    - 30 -

    Media contacts:

    Heather May
    Director of Communications
    Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
    709-729-0928, 697-5061
    Lynn Taylor
    Policy Manager
    Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
    709-722-2224, Ext. 22, 691-0444

    2009 09 08                                                   10:25 a.m.

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