February 28, 2019 – Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador hosted the annual Tourism Excellence Awards Gala on Thursday night as the grand finale to the 36th Annual Conference and Trade Show, held in Gander from February 26-28. The Gala featured the presentation of the Tourism Excellence Awards, recognizing the outstanding tourism leaders and businesses that make great contributions to the provincial tourism industry.
“Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism industry is built on the hard work and vision of some of our province’s most innovative and passionate entrepreneurs,” says Hospitality NL Chair, Larry Laite. “They believe in the value of sharing our natural and cultural wonders with the world, while at the same time preserving our history, and their dedication to growing this industry is second to none. I would like to commend all the nominees and recipients of this year’s awards for the work that they do and sincerely thank them for their contribution to Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism industry.”
The following is a list of awards and award recipients. Detailed information about each award and recipient is available below. Photos are available by contacting Melissa Ennis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator Award of Excellence – The Old Salt Box Co.
CBDC Tourism Business Award of Excellence – Farm & Market at Clarenville Inn
Tourism Innovator Award – Twillingate & Beyond Inc.
Tourism Champion Award – Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland & Labrador
Tourism Corporate Partner Award – Shorefast
Cultural Tourism Award – Northern Lights Dog Sledding
Tourism Achievement Award – Tineke & Marieke Gow, Artisan Inn & Vacation Homes and Twine Loft Dining
Cruise Vision Award – Town of Francois
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial tourism industry association for 35 years, is dedicated to advancing growth in tourism through advocacy efforts, skills and knowledge development and membership and networking opportunities. Hospitality NL’s Conference and Trade Show is the largest annual gathering of tourism operators within the province and is taking place in Gander, February 26-28, 2019. Visit www.hnl.ca/conference to learn more!
Melissa Ennis, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
P: 709-722-2000, ext. 231
H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator Award of Excellence
Presented to: The Old Salt Box Co.
The H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator Award of Excellence has been put forth by the Sparkes family in recognition of the contribution their father made to the tourism industry in Newfoundland & Labrador. This award recognizes an individual or company in the accommodations sector within the province who exhibits a dedication to quality service, a commitment to the tourism industry and makes a solid contribution to the communities in which they live. These are all qualities of Clayton Sparkes and our family deemed it fitting that an award recognizing these characteristics in others be presented in his name.
The Old Salt Box Co. took a historic type of Newfoundland and Labrador accommodation and mixed it with luxury. Their commitment to providing guests with an exceptional visitor experience right from the very beginning stages of booking is second to none. With vacations homes located all throughout Central and Western Newfoundland, they are consistently growing and expanding their business, investing in and showcasing some of the best parts of rural Newfoundland & Labrador. The owners make every effort to promote the local tourism industry in the region, providing guests with plenty of information on things to do and places to see. They’ve partnered with fellow operators and work with local artists and craftspeople who help supply the authentic rural Newfoundland and Labrador feel to their vacation homes with handmade quilts, art and woodwork items. The Old Salt Box Co. sets an example for the tourism industry through their dedication to visitor satisfaction, the growth and development of the overall tourism industry, and community involvement.
This award was presented to The Old Salt Box Co. at the Tourism Excellence Awards Gala by Bruce Sparkes on behalf of Clayton Hospitality Inc.
CBDC Tourism Business Award of Excellence
Presented to: Farm & Market at Clarenville Inn
The CBDC Tourism Business Award of Excellence recognizes businesses that have built a reputation for excelling and continuously improving upon all areas of operations – customer service, human resources and business results. Not only does the business excel in its operations, but they see themselves as having an important role in improving the tourism industry of Newfoundland and Labrador.
With the ambitious vision of building new experiences for travellers in Newfoundland & Labrador, this not-for-profit & social enterprise has realized tremendous success, with visitation reaching 26,000 in just two short years. The Farm & Market at Clarenville Inn is fast becoming a destination for visitors, all while promoting farming and cultural craft making in rural communities. They offer high quality and delightful experiences for tourists, ranging from food sampling and purchase opportunities for locally grown produce, including speciality crops and authentic crafts; music and entertainment; and an increasing variety of community events. Authenticity is paramount, right down to the specially installed door for the onsite root cellar. Through their federal, provincial and other partnerships, they are leveraging their collective leadership capacity for tourism investments, particularly in the area of authentic experiences and product development. They support best practices for merchandizing and development of new and unique product offerings, including produce, speciality foods, crafts and experiences. Funding for training and onboarding of budding entrepreneurs and for education on food security is provided.
This award was presented to the Farm & Market at Clarenville Inn at the Tourism Excellence Awards Gala by Rachelle White, NL Association of CBDCs.
Tourism Innovator Award
Presented to: Twillingate & Beyond Inc.
The Tourism Innovator Award recognizes an individual or company that has developed a tourism business, product, or an unconventional approach to an existing market. This may be a new or a long-standing business that is taking an innovative approach and fostering a positive impact on the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This year’s recipient is filling in the gaps in their local tourism industry. With a need for more accommodations in their community, the owners stepped up by creating three different options — a hostel, a suite and an inn. They also run a market where they offer vegetarian food, handcrafted Newfoundland and Labrador products from 30 + artisans and a unique crafting experience. Their business is aiding in the development of a vibrant downtown scene in the local community. The team’s newest project is a stage & wharf on the premises harbour front. The stage will host weaving workshops and offer space for other artisan workshops and guest experiences. The innovation of this project prompted the Town to create a new by law, which enabled a building permit to be issued to a newly-built, privately-owned commercial stage.
This award was presented to Twillingate & Beyond Inc. at the Tourism Excellence Awards Gala by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.
Tourism Champion Award
Presented to: Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland & Labrador
This award is presented to an individual, company or organization that has worked diligently to ensure that the tourism industry prospers, and as such, has given freely of their time and energy to champion the interests of and enhance the tourism industry.
This year’s recipient has been a leader within the tourism industry for many years. They thrive on partnerships, working with many organizations across the entire province to create a unique and innovative tourism product, conduct research, and to support economic development. As an organization, they are very engaged throughout the province, with many staff and directors actively participating and contributing to the tourism industry. Becoming a provincial organization in 2008, the recipient identified a definite gap in the preservation of one of the province’s intangible cultural heritage assets. Driven by the necessity to collect, preserve, exhibit and share this information, the organization has proven itself to be a leader in developing cultural and heritage-based tourism programs. Staff travel throughout the province to collect information and forever preserve the craft of wooden boat building. The intangible cultural heritage that is collected forms the basis of exhibits, programs and products that are available at a museum and at partnering sites. Visitors, including children, can participate in a variety of hands-on experiences, including one-day or week-long workshops.
This award was presented to the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland & Labrador at the Tourism Excellence Awards Gala by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.
Tourism Corporate Partner Award
Presented to: Shorefast
This award recognizes a business-to-business partner that has been successful in developing creative and effective alliances within the tourism industry that improve Hospitality NL’s ability to meet its mission.
This organization believes in the inherent value of place and in order to support that, they engage in business, art, financial capital, architecture and design and hospitality. Despite a remote location in the province, Shorefast works hard to connect its local tourism initiatives to the provincial tourism industry. With its flagship tourism product recognized internationally, they help to stimulate provincial tourism and generate economic activity not only in their community, but throughout their region and the entire province. Shorefast runs a number of programs and social businesses that contribute to the tourism industry including a luxury accommodation, a wood shop, fish exchange, artist residencies and geotourism products. A leader in corporate social responsibility, 100% of the operating surpluses of their businesses are reinvested into the community and the foundation to support ongoing charitable programs. They have pioneered the practice of economic nutrition labelling as a means to help increase buyer awareness of the economic impact of their purchasing decisions, while also spotlighting seller accountability.
This award was presented to Shorefast at the Tourism Excellence Awards Gala by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.
Cultural Tourism Award – presented by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
Presented to: Northern Lights Dog Sledding
The Cultural Tourism Award is presented by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation – to an individual or organization that is promoting the innovative pursuit of cultural expression within the tourism industry.
Located in Central Labrador, Northern Lights Dog Sledding has taken the richness of their land, heritage and outdoor assets to create an award-winning tourism experience. Owners Scott and Lori Hudson have developed a cultural tourism product that celebrates indigenous culture, by offering tourists the opportunity to experience the traditional dog sled mode of transportation through the natural landscape of the beautiful Upper Lake Melville area and beyond. Immersing the tourist in authentic cultures and traditions amid the spectacle of the Labrador landscape makes for an undeniably enriching experience. Through their storytelling – the sharing of age-old legends – and teaching of dog sledding techniques and educating people about the Labrador Husky, we all have good reason to celebrate this company and their tourism experience. A strong informative website and creative experience packages have contributed greatly to their success. Their attention to an authentic, quality experience exceeding customer expectations, as well as being environmental and cultural stewards of their land and heritage is reflected in their marketing and has been a guiding principal to their business growth.
This award was presented to the Northern Lights Dog Sledding at the Provincial Tourism Luncheon by The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and MHA Mark Browne.
The Tourism Achievement Award – presented by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
Presented to: Tineke & Marieke Gow, Artisan Inn & Vacation Homes and Twine Loft Dining
The Tourism Achievement Award is presented by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to recognize a group or individual’s long-time achievement and dedication to the tourism industry. This award serves as an inspiration for those striving for excellence in tourism.
This year’s recipient is dedicated to their guests, to their community and to tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. Using a successful business model that combined history, built heritage, culture and hospitality – this operator set a very high standard for their operations, guest services and marketing. This business was the first rural tourism operator to embrace digital marketing and set up a website, and has since received multiple awards and accolades for their online marketing – and just recently, was singled out as an online best practice in their region. This operator maintains a 5 out of 5 rating on both Yelp and Trip Advisor, and has held Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence for over five years. They have also received the prestigious Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Hidden Gems Award. These high ratings are a result of their commitment to quality and service excellence. Beyond their own business model, they were early advocates and leaders in working with Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism on its own online presence. A strong advocate – they have volunteered on boards, associations, and committees to advance the tourism industry in this province.
This award was presented to Tineke Gow at the Provincial Tourism Luncheon by The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and Carmela Murphy, Assistant Deputy Minister, Tourism & Culture.
Cruise Vision Award – presented by Cruise Newfoundland and Labrador
Presented to: Town of Francois
The Cruise Vision Award is presented by Cruise Newfoundland and Labrador to an individual, group or business that has demonstrated a commitment to the provincial cruise industry and has contributed significantly to the growth of the cruise industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This year’s winner of the Cruise Vision Award is a town that has been involved in cruise for over 10 years. With a population of about 70 people, this town has the ability to come together and welcome, with open arms and homes, over 200 cruise passengers in one day. The cruise industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is built on the backs of many ports of all different sizes. The success of one community is a success the entire province can celebrate. This community works as a whole to showcase all aspects of Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture. They throw a big, traditional kitchen party; offer local handmade products for sale; and the towns proud and knowledgeable resident’s act as local hosts and provide tours to every cruise passenger. The town is quickly becoming a frequent stop by many cruise ships. Perhaps the most impressive element of this town’s success is that it is independently sustainable in all aspects of their infrastructure with generator power, landfill responsibility and water supply. Passengers that arrive quickly realize they have stepped back in time and are in awe of how the town sustains itself, while only being accessible by sea or air. This year’s winner entered the national stage in 2017 when it was one of only three stops in Newfoundland and Labrador by the C3 Exploration Cruise that travelled from one side of Canada to the other, for Canada’s 150th birthday.
This award was presented to the Town of Francois at the Tourism Excellence Awards Gala by Cruise Newfoundland and Labrador.