Budget devastating for tourism industry: NDP

NDP Tourism, Culture and Recreation Critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA The Straits-White Bay North) is appalled by government’s lack of vision for generating additional revenues from International tourists, demonstrated by the backwards step taken with slashes to its award-winning marketing budget by nearly $4 Million, wiping out years of successive gains.

“At Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s Annual Conference, Tourism Minister Terry French touted the $1 Billion dollars in revenue the industry contributes to the economy,” said Mitchelmore. “This feel-good speech did not highlight that most of this revenue is generated from the domestic market and that we are failing make gains in high-yield international markets to reach our goal of $1.6 Billion by 2020.”

Mitchelmore attended a Tourism Town Hall and listened to a presentation by Tourism Industry Association of Canada highlighting the public policy challenges inhibiting tourism growth: marketing, access and product.

Hospitality NL is adapting its Assurance Program to elevate standards of programs and service. They are doing their role to develop product, while the government is pulling back on marketing and even access. The Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development has completely eliminated the budgetary line item of $4 million in funding for the province’s Air Access Strategy.

“Increases to ferry rates, $500 fees for new business start-ups and 20% increases in out-patients rates for health services to non-residents will all hurt the growth of an industry that impacts every region of Newfoundland & Labrador, particularly rural areas,” said Mitchelmore.

“It is clear to me the Ministers of Tourism and IBRD are taking the same approach as the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to rural communities -- ensuring there is no viability and sustainability.”

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