UNCOMMON POTENTIAL: A Vision for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (Vision 2020) was launched in 2009 as the strategic plan for tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. Six years after the launch of Vision 2020, the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board embarked on a process to update, refresh and renew the provincial tourism strategy. The refreshed strategy reflects the accomplishments achieved, as well as the challenges remaining, putting renewed focus on what the priorities must be heading into the home stretch towards 2020.
With four years remaining until 2020, the timing to do this could not have been better.
When the Vision was developed throughout 2008 and 2009, research combined with industry wide consultation informed each of the seven strategic directions and each of the goals and objectives within. This combination of data and industry input also served as the foundation for the Vision renewal and was enabled by partner collaboration.
In 2015, the Tourism Board completed a second Milestone Evaluation that outlines collective partner progress towards the achievement of the Vision. That assessment enabled qualitative and quantitative measures to be discussed as a means of informing how to tackle the remaining challenges. While such information is critically important, it cannot be considered in isolation of industry input. As such, an important part of the renewal process was to ensure that industry’s voice was reflected. Destination Development provided a timely opportunity for just that.
The Destination Development process was launched in 2013 and as of March 31, 2016, five regional reports will be completed and come together to inform the provincial product development strategy. Heavily dependent upon industry contribution, the Destination Development process created an opportunity for almost 50 in-person sessions with operators and industry contributors throughout the province. Conversations spanned everything tourism and the feedback was phenomenal, helping shape not only the Destination Development reports, but the view of tourism in general.
In addition to Destination Development, this year the Tourism Board has also been discussing the importance of industry alignment as it pertains to working together and using available resources more wisely. As a complex industry with many partners, tourism requires now, more than ever, focused, strategic investment. By carefully examining what resources are available, both human and financial, productive conversations about how to move forward have been taking place.
The renewed Vision does not include drastic changes. The seven strategic directions remain the same but; the devil truly is in the details. 2016 in Newfoundland and Labrador looks very different than did 2009 and we must adjust according to the socio and economic factors that make up our current reality. As such, the goals and objectives within the Vision are more pointed towards strategic tourism investment to ensure a sustainable future for the industry.
As 2020 nears, one thing is certain. Communication and collaboration form the foundation from which to build upon our collective success. The Tourism Board, as a forum for informing strategic discussion, is enabling partnerships that are imperative to advancing the industry. And, renewing our commitment to Vision 2020 is imperative to remaining focused.
It is said that, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The Vision provides our renewed plan so that together we reach our ultimate goal of: doubling tourism spending by 2020 by attracting more visitors, getting them to stay longer and providing opportunities for them to experience more.