Deciding what to do and how much to spend on a tourism industry that is still in its infancy are no easy tasks. How far a city and a region support an industry that has little or no impact on the average person, yet has the potential to cushion or crush small, local tourism operators.
While the weather was typical of a fall in western Newfoundland, the cruise ship season experienced its busiest run in years over the past few weeks, including Wednesday’s visit of the Norwegian Gem.
The visitation of cruise ships has certainly turned into a viable industry over the past few years. From the tour companies to the downtown businesses, entrepreneurs have grown to rely on the cruise industry.
It’s also befitting that this week is Small Business Week in Canada, as small- and medium-sized businesses are the ones who drive this industry in Corner Brook. In fact, small businesses are the lifeblood of many industries that not only support tourism efforts but also the economic lifeline of the region.
According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, these smaller corporations make up 99.8 per cent of all Canadian companies and employ more than 60 per cent of private sector workers. That’s a lot of people, and even greater driver of the economy than most realize.
This year’s theme for Small Business Week is “Aim High! Invest in Your Future.”
“Entrepreneurs across Canada should aim high — invest to build better, more competitive businesses,” stated a prepared release from the BDC. “To grow, they need the right people, technology and business skills to beat the competition both here and abroad.”
While it’s certainly befitting to every sector, it can easily be splashed against the backdrop of the cruise industry, and what’s needed here. The right people, technical means and skills can aid this industry to become world-class as passengers flock to the area for a hint of autumn like no other.
While the cruise industry will likely never be the major driver of the local economy, there is room for improvement and as long as those involved venture to “aim high” while maintaining ground level ideals of heightened importance, it will flourish and thrive as an important benchmark in a slow-growing sector.