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Regional tourism plan needs acceptance to work: STAR co-chair

Stelman Flynn
Stelman Flynn

Stelman Flynn optimistic area communities will buy into recommendations

CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

Stelman Flynn thinks there are good ideas in the recommendations for what a regional tourism marketing plan for Corner Brook and surrounding area would include. 

Now it needs the support of communities involved to progress.

Flynn is the co-chair of the Strategic Tourism for Areas and Regions (STAR) committee set up by the City of Corner Brook to oversee the development of the plan. 

Tract Consulting was tasked with the job and recently presented a draft report to the committee. The committee shared the report Sept. 23 with stakeholders in the tourism sector for feedback. It’s expected the final report will be made public within the next couple of weeks.

The plan will take in both sides of the Bay of Islands and extend into the Humber Valley.

Implementing it, Flynn said, will require a buy in from communities in the region since they will make the required changes.

“I’m not going to fool myself and think that everyone is going to buy in,” said Flynn, adding he is hopeful it will be supported, based on the strong participation and cooperation exhibited through the process.

Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons agrees.

He said he’s heard from all areas of the Bay of Island and the lower Humber Valley and people want to collaborate.

“I’m confident that that we’re all going to be able to work together in implementing these recommendations and growing the industry,” said Parsons

Among the recommendations Flynn sees as key to putting the plan in place is the need for an employee.

And that will take money.

Flynn said money for such a person could be found through a room levy on accommodations in the region. To make that happen there will need to be support from the province.

“The precedent has been set with St. John’s and, to be honest with you, why is Corner Brook any different than St. John’s, really?” Flynn asked.

A three per cent levy could bring in an estimated $120,000, which Flynn said could fund a worker and pay for office space.

Including the whole area is also important.  Flynn said both the north and south shores of the Bay of Islands are key. 

“The drive itself for the scenery on the south side of the bay is as good as you’re going to find anywhere in the world,” he commented.

Having signage so people can find the region is also necessary, he said.

Because of its infrastructure, Flynn said Corner Brook would likely be the staging area for the whole Humber region.

That means development on West Street and Broadway to encourage people to travel to downtown Corner Brook will be crucial.

The need for a proper marketing plan with appropriate marketing taglines to promote the region as a whole was also identified as key to its success.

diane.crocker@thewesternstar.com
Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

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