CORNER BROOK — The Western Newfoundland Destination Management Organization has come a long way since its inception in 2006, and Mark Lamswood wants to solidify the marketing organization as the go-to entity for the region’s tourism product.
The Corner Brook native has been in the DMO’s executive director position since May. Now that he has his feet wet and a firm grasp on what the organization’s mandate is, he’s hoping to enhance how it helps both tourism operators and their customers.
“It’s been said there are no accidental tourists in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Lamswood, referring to the logistics involved in arranging a visit to the province. “I think we’ve been doing a better job provincially and at the regional level of understanding where our markets are. That shapes where our office goes and the messages we are trying to deliver.”
Lamswood has experience in both the tourism industry and economic development, which are both at the heart of what the organization is all about. He worked in property and vacation sales at Humber Valley Resort and as food and beverage manager at the Greenwood Inn and Suites in Corner Brook before taking on the job of economic development officer with the Red Ochre Regional Economic Development Board in Norris Point and then with the Humber Economic Development Board back in Corner Brook.
With those regional boards currently undergoing a period of transition, he said more tourism-related work is being directed towards the western organization and the other destination marketing boards set up across the province.
“There is only so much we can get up to too, though, so we need to take stock of what’s coming at us and what is it that we can contribute to in a meaningful way because you can spin too many plates,” he said.
Currently, the organization is focusing on things like helping tour operators develop quality assurance standards in their products and customer service and opening the lines of communication throughout the industry, particularly by enhancing western Newfoundland tourism’s presence on social media.
The organization continues to regularly attend tourism trade shows, promoting the region, and host familiarity tours with operators interested in bringing clients to the province or with journalists who want to tout what is available to see and do in western Newfoundland.
Like the other destination marketing organizations in the province, the western group is funded by the provincial government and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The current round of funding is good until the spring of 2014 and Lamswood is intent on making a strong case in the next 20 months or so for another round of multi-year funding.
“I’d like to have a real good go of it and make some improvements in the demonstration of the value of this office and communicating that,” he said.