Today my mind was centered around the tourism industry and customer service, as I participated in Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s “Super Host Atlantic” program, all I could think about was creating the Rural Experience. We have a distinct product so many yearn to know.
We have an incredible opportunity, especially those of us who live and work in rural communities. We have a product urbanites are demanding, as they grow tired of the same restaurants, malls, and congested streets. This means we do not need to spend time developing business districts in our towns and communities to attract new people. The traveller of today is coming to small towns for an authentic experience. They want to eat where locals do and hang out in our social commons, visiting our wharfs, cafes and shops.
I remember walking the streets of Italy while on vacation three years ago. I was in search of a restaurant that was not in the tourist district, where locals eat. We found a little resto on a narrow street. We were served fresh homemade pasta, with authentic Italian charm. The atmosphere was real, which made all the difference, as you could hear the language of love, Italiano fill the room, not to mention prices were not over-inflated and you could taste the pride and heart placed in the meal, as one’s taste buds we tantalized.
I have travelled many countries, in urban and rural settings and can state that successful small town tourism hinges on collaboration. We must work with other local business owners and not see other operators as competitors. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador can achieve success in this field, if stakeholders work better with the local business community who serve these visitors. A B&B should recommend other accommodations in the region, be knowledgable of events, activities and attractions. We have a distinct cultural collection, heritage, history, cuisine and way of living that is a unique, underdeveloped tourism product.
As individual business entities, we all have motives, goals, objectives and initiatives with limited resources. Working with others, weaving our rural networks and sharing information can help to provide a better service to visitors and more economic benefit for the member businesses.
Let’s look at things with a new approach…Collaborative Community Thinking on a Regional Rural level is market ready.
Let’s promote the authentic rural experience –