When asked about their outlook for the 2012 summer season, 83 percent of HNL members indicated that projected tourism revenues for 2012 are up from 2011 or, at least, on par.
In addition, 93.5 percent indicated that the demand for employees is higher than or on par with 2011.
HNL chair Darlene Thomas suggested the numbers show that marketing efforts are proving successful in attracting travellers from away, as well as encouraging those from Newfoundland and Labrador to travel within the province.
She said that means the province must now work harder than ever to ensure expectations are met once travellers arrive.
“As such, the demand for employees, a skilled labour shortage and the recently proposed changes to employment insurance heighten concern among operators about their ability to access employees and reinforce the need for HNL to continue to work for our members to help provide solutions to these challenges.”
Ms. Thomas acknowledged another interesting find from the annual survey is the ranking of issues that the membership wants HNL to focus on for the coming year.
The top five critical issues affecting the industry included quality of tourism products or services (72.2 per cent), air access (66.7 per cent), communications infrastructure (65.5 per cent), car rental availability (62.5 per cent) and Marine Atlantic ferry services (61.8 per cent).
Air access has dropped to the number two spot, down from number one last year, and the quality of tourism products and services has become the most critical issue in the industry. After being at the top spot of critical issues for many years, Marine Atlantic has dropped even further down the priority list to the number five spot.
“Our Board is pleased that the membership has ranked the quality of tourism products and services as the number one priority for our industry. HNL is working hard with its many valued partners and members to develop a new quality assurance program, which focuses on establishing standards among all tourism experiences delivered in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Delivering on the promises we make in our advertising is essential to our long term sustainability and we want the tourism industry to be around for a very long time.”
HNL also sees the elevated ranking of communications infrastructure, which did not rank in the top five last year, as reflective of the industry’s interest in being a quality tourism destination that responds to customers expectations.
“Interestingly, this is the second year in a row now that Marine Atlantic Inc. has been inching away from the most critical issue, which indicates to us that the tourism industry recognizes the significant improvements that have been made to the service and that for now, Marine Atlantic Inc. is on the right track.”