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STAR Report identifies keys to developing tourism in Corner Brook region

The Blow Me Down Mountains behind Benoit's Cove.
The Blow Me Down Mountains behind Benoit's Cove. - Contributed

City director Darren Charters eyes five key areas for collaborative approach

CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

City of Corner Brook staff are stressing the importance of a collaborative tourism approach with the completion of the STAR (Strategic Tourism for Areas and Regions).

The STAR Report, a tourism plan developed for the Corner Brook/Bay of Islands/Lower Humber Valley region, was released publicly Nov. 18. 

Darren Charters, director of community, engineering, development and planning for the city, said they will continue to collaborate with partners, including the public, the tourism industry, provincial and federal governments and other communities around the Bay of Islands.

“One of our goals moving forward is to build the foundation with this report and really move it forward,” he told The Western Star. “But we need everybody on board; not just the City of Corner Brook, but all of our partners in the Bay of Islands.”

The report lists 31 strategic recommendations and tactics, but Charters identified five broader areas of focus for the city and its partners.

They are: foundation building, branding, festivals, destination trails and the proposed Cabox GeoPark.

He said the city will work with existing groups to provide them with the support needed to see through new trails, festivals and the GeoPark.

“We have the staff, the know-how for applications for funding, administrative support, technical expertise,” he said. “We want to take those groups, prop them up, and if they’re successful, we’re successful.”

Funding for the STAR Report was provided by ACOA, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the City of Corner Brook in August 2018.

It cost between $65,000 and $90,000.

The report was compiled by Tract Consulting. An industry-led committee oversaw the development of the plan.

Five key areas of focus in the STAR Report
1)    Foundation building – According to Darren Charters, the foundation to building tourism will entail looking at how to fund tourism initiatives and developing training programs for businesses in the area.

2)    Branding – “What are we?” Charters says that’s one of the critical questions, not just for the City of Corner Brook, but for the entire Bay of Islands region. “We got to understand what we are, what we want to be, where we want to go and then we can start marketing ourselves,” said Charters. 

3)    Festivals – The City of Corner Brook will look at expanding existing festivals and creating new ones. Charters believes the 2019 Corner Brook Come Home Year proved people will attend “good events”. 
They’ll look at improving events like the Winter Carnival and Corner Brook Day, while a committee has been created to develop new festivals for the area. The City of Corner Brook is looking for stakeholder input and ideas from the public to develop festivals.

4)    Destination trails – Charters says the region sees itself as a “four-season outdoor playground”. The City of Corner Brook is working with partners to develop ATV, snowmobile, hiking and mountain biking trails.
Charters says a meeting is set with groups in the area to determine where they want to proceed next with trail development.

5)    GeoPark – Charters says the city intends to continue to support the groups who are pushing the Cabox GeoPark initiative. He says the city will help with funding applications and provide technical support. “We won’t be the lead on those things because we’re not the experts but anything we can do to help those groups, we’re more than willing to do,” he said.

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