The province’s tourism minister says his department is always ready to help promote any area of the province.
Tourism, Culture and Innovation Minister Christopher Mitchelmore was responding to an article published recently by The Western Star in which local tourism operator Joe Dicks expressed the sentiment that the Humber Valley region wasn’t being promoted well enough.
Dicks, who owns Marble Inn in Steady Brook, said the province’s tourism website doesn’t do a good enough job and that more can also be done by other entities in the area, including municipal governments and others with a stake in the industry.
The provincial tourism website does list the Humber Valley among its featured top destination regions.
Dicks, who publishes his own tourism package promotion website, believes the images featured on the government site could be stronger so that the region could get in on more of the booming tourism activity that does exist in neighboring regions such as Gros Morne.
Mitchelmore said the Humber Valley region is a strong component of the provincial tourism industry and that his department is open to hearing ways it can better promote that region, or any others.
“I’m certainly willing to hear ideas and find ways government can be responsive,” said Mitchelmore. “There is a fair bit of tourism that happens in that region and tourism is a significant contributor to the economy. There can always be more done and we are open to ideas.”
It’s all about engagement, collaboration and communication, said the minister.
He noted the approach taken in recent years by the Stephenvillle area. What began as a festival to celebrate the former American presence in the town has blossomed into an effort that promotes the area’s natural history, including the petrified forest at Blanche Brook, and its cultural diversity, including aspects of its French and Indigenous heritage.
“They are looking at those assets and collectively bringing geology and culture together and creating a critical mass,” said Mitchelmore. “That’s going to bring success.”