Deer Lake Regional Airport is the gateway for visitors travelling the Great Northern Peninsula. This summer was record-breaking registering more than 40,000 passengers in both July and August. Last year more than 300,000 passengers passed through Deer Lake Airport earning it the record of the 4th busiest airport in Atlantic Canada.
While waiting for my bags at the carousel, I peered up at the wall and was pleased to see Parks Canada advertising L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. It got me thinking about how airports are gateways to promote local business and the tourism industry. We need to move past static signage and use more dynamic means of promotion – interactive screens.
In the 21st century we have the ability to utilize technology and what better place than when waiting for baggage to come, sometimes 15-30 minutes of a captured market. Deer Lake Airport could have five large screens promoting distinctly the five economic regions: Tip of Great Northern Peninsula, Gros Morne National Park area, Corner Brook/HV, Stephenville & Port au Port, and the Southwest Coast. This was a message I relayed to Jamie Schwartz, CEO of Deer Lake Airport.
This is an opportunity to promote business, local attractions, events and images of landscapes and natural areas via short clips or imagery. This is what visitors really want. A partnership should be struck with Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation; Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development; Airport Authority; Western DMO and local industry stakeholders to add technology and pilot a project.
The screens and other static displays should have bar codes to provide further information by using tablet or mobile devices. This is being pursued by many countries in Europe. If we want to grow the tourism industry, we as well need to get with the technological times.
We have so much potential to use our best assets to drive tourism, extend the stay of visitors and wanting them to come back for another stay before they even leave the airport on their current visit. These are simple matters that does not have a huge cost attached and the reward – significant.
Let’s reach Vision 2020 by 2018! It can be done if we put our creative ideas into actions.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North NDP Tourism, Culture & Recreation critic
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It may have taken several years and travel over a bumpy highway, but in 2013 I found myself in King’s Point, NL. It is a community that should be on everyone’s To Do List! There are scenic viewing vistas of both mountains and coastal areas, colourful fishing rooms and wharves, walking trails, rattling brook, humpback whale pavilion, heritage home, cafes, restaurants, accommodations and of course, Newfoundland’s famous King’s Point Pottery.
In 2002, I became an entrepreneur by starting-up Flower’s Island Museum and was profiled by the Getting the Message Out (GMO) program. In 2006, I ended up working as an Intern promoting that very program at the now Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development across the province. One of the businesses profiled was King’s Point Pottery.
In 2013, the owner’s, Linda Yates & David Hayashida received the “Outstanding Retailer Award” at the Atlantic Canada Craft and Trade Show gala event in Halifax, Nova Scotia after being nominated by the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador. This is the show’s highest honour.
I had written the owner’s commending them on their accomplishment and noted how I hoped to visit their storefront in the near future. I was greatly impressed when Linda told me how they turned her father’s old service station into their current retail outlet, adding a triangular rooftop. I am a fan of re-purposing local buildings.
Inside, there were all sorts of pottery, ceramics, prints, jewelry, wooden items and even local jams from the Dark Tickle Company of St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Great Northern Peninsula. They support more than 180 artists with a goal of supporting and retailing 365 artists from all over Atlantic Canada.
The hooked rug style coasters of the iconic clothes lines are quintessentially aspects of rural living. These are unique and show the creativity of our artists. I had a great conversation with one of the students employed that is also gaining experience in the craft and making specialty products.
I purchase a ceramic cup and saucer, as well as this colourful bowl. After leaving the shop, I visited more attractions, which I will write about in a later post.
There are many opportunities to support our local artists and craft producers. King’s Point Pottery is a 21-year-old success story. We can do more to buy local, help create local jobs and build stronger, vibrant rural communities.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North