Strategic Direction #4
Strategic Direction 4 has garnered a lot of attention in the last few years of Vision implementation. The focus on experience development has reinforced the need for us to change the way we think about product development to focus more on building experiences that align with the brand and authenticity of Newfoundland and Labrador. We know that personal touches and hands-on opportunities create memories that will serve so much more than the functional aspects of the product offering and the research backs us up. But, the value of quality cannot be understated.
As a destination that requires concerted effort to visit, the quality of experiences must match the expectations of the sophisticated travellers that we attract.
The destination development planning process provided the opportunity to critically consider recommendations for product and experience development within each region of the province. By using the regional plans to form a provincial product and experience development strategy, we are well positioned to make regional and provincial linkages that will engage many tourism partners and align our collective resources on priorities for developing a sustainable tourism industry for the long term.
Partners of the Tourism Board have committed to the destination development process and responded to industry’s desire to see action. Implementation of the plans has begun and industry partners have been engaged in initiatives as a direct result of the recommendations from the plans. However, the plans are designed for complete implementation to take place over the long term and as a result, continued engagement with and communications to all industry partners will be critical.
Tourism Assurance Plan (TAP)
The Tourism Assurance Plan (TAP) is an industry driven initiative to help raise the bar for the quality of tourism products, services and experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador. Launched in 2013 at Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s Annual Conference, TAP approval reached 70% in the first year of implementation in 2014. With five minimum standards, the program highlights the importance of quality and meeting the expectations of the traveller.
Tourism Board partners have committed to the program and the further work that must be done to continue to educate and coach non-approved operators towards approval. Further work will also be done to engage other sectors of the tourism industry and continue to focus on quality standards.
Fundamentally, the priorities for experience development are:
- Ensuring a critical mass of authentic, quality attractions and experiences with supporting infrastructure and services in the right locations, to respond to market demands and expectations.
- Developing extended season tourism demand to help achieve sustainable, viable tourism experiences that will grow the industry over the long term.
- Establishing a realistic financial model so our demand-generating experiences can be sustainable.