Want to make a tourist happy? Give them an authentic experience that involves people and food — that's the message that was unveiled in a new tourism plan Monday in St. John's.
The province's tourism department calls the plan a "road map for maximizing tourism growth" that focuses on creating a strong business environment for private investment.
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation Christopher Mitchelmore said the plan fits in with the wider government strategy to increase visitor spending in the province to $1.6 billion annually by 2020.
"By collaborating with private, government and non-profit tourism partners, this plan will increase the number of high quality, Newfoundland and Labrador 'brand' tourism experiences to attract more visitors, encourage them to stay longer and experience more," he said at Monday's news conference.
The visitor journey
"We do not simply provide you with a pillow to lay your head on or a meal to fill your stomach," said Dion Finlay, chair of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, who said tourists want an "authentic" experience with the place, its people and with food.
"There are elements that make a visit to our destination truly unforgettable."
Treating visitors like family is part of the experience, Finlay said, and should be marketed.
He said classes in cooking and breadmaking at one of his businesses, Compton House — in a partnership with Lori McCarthy and her company Cod Sounds — is one example of tourist operators working together to enrich the visitor experience.
More information on the province's tourism development plan can be found on the provincial government website.