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5 Unique Ideas To Help Boost Tourism In Newfoundland & Labrador

Tourism is a major industry here in Newfoundland & Labrador, one that continues to grow despite of Covid-19 and economic turndowns. This province must continue to push its tourism sector hard into the next decade and beyond. I have some ideas that I wanted to share with our readers in hopes of getting a discussing going.

Some of them could just be too crazy, downright stupid or perhaps even there’s a bit of genius tucked away somewhere in these thoughts. I’d love to see the tourism industry in Newfoundland thrive, especially in smaller communities where there is a lot to see and do. I just think we need a few more pushes in the right direction and this industry could see record growth year after year.

I think we should be building towards a future that continues to highlight and promote what is some of the most unique land in all of the world.

Glass Igloos In Key Locations

glass igloo newfoundland

I personally would love to see glass domes in key locations for viewing the outdoors in comfort. If you’ve been to Cape Spear in the winter when the wind is howling, then you’ll know that many layers of winter clothing can only do so much for you. Imagine a cozy igloo enough for 20-25 people.

It could have heating, be solar powered, be used for private or special events and could have charging stations for your equipment. This would open up wave watching during the stormy and cold seasons to tourists, something that does very well in British Columbia.

People from all over the world come to watch the waves crash there.

wave watching newfoundland tourism

Logistics aside, these glass igloos could be put in areas like Cape Spear, Bonavista, Gros Morne, Fogo Island, Brigus Lighthouse and Trinity to start. This should be possible right? It couldn’t be too costly either…right?

I don’t know all the details, but I imagine there would be no significant impact(might even encourage less walking around) on the environment having a few of these domes in key locations. Imagine being able to watch the stars above without a -40 windchill in peace and even perhaps a hot cup of coffee from a vending machine inside the igloo.

Uniquely Designed Hotel Above St. John’s Harbour

st johns newfoundland hotel narrows
Photo Source: Flickr

St. John’s has a few decent to good hotels, but there’s nothing here that makes you go “wow” in my opinion, hopefully that doesn’t hurt any feelings out there. This idea, much like the one above this, is more than likely going to get a lot of “hell no” and “that would ruin the city” kind of comments.

I’m sure it has been talked about before and sure enough, after some diligent Google snooping, I managed to find an article from 2011 talking about the Southside Hills.

I contacted the city if they could explain what the deal was, and they informed me that most of the land is crown land, owned by the province. But, in the 80s, a deal was signed between the province and a company named Sohilco (Southside HIlls Corporation) to give them what is known as ‘right of first refusal’, meaning roughly, if anything is to be done with the land, it will be done by Sohilco. The agreement affects an area of land bordered by Southside Road on the west, Blackhead Road at the south, Deadman’s Cove at the east and following the coastline all the way back along to Fort Amherst.

Over the years, Sohilco has had a few big ideas about developing the Hills. They were interested in engineer Tom Kierans’ ideas about excavating portions of the hills for underground infrastructure, storage and other industrial applications. He proposed underground sewage treatment for the city, with a pipe for sewage outfalls into Freshwater Bay, and a park with a road circling the high points at the top of the hill. Kierans is probably more well known for his proposal for the Rock Arena, the controversial “arena built into the hill” idea which came about at the time when the city was looking to build a new stadium. It was one of the more radically creative proposals this city has ever seen, but was eventually turned down.

Sohilco was still interested in the hill top park idea as recently as the late 90s and early 2000s, and was encouraged by the city to collaborate with the East Coast Trail Association, which was responsible for revitalizing the old trails that exist along the hill and south along the coast. These days, however, Sohilco lays dormant, and no development has progressed. Is it time to resurrect the discussion of what could become of the hills?

So that pretty much answers my question and kills the curiosity. However, the world is growing and change is something you just cannot say no to. If you read that article you’ll see that a hilltop park with paved loop road and a viewing platform kind of like Signal Hill. This is a terrible idea as we have a lot of lush environment up here that shouldn’t be disturbed too much.

I like the simple idea of just one road up to the hotel that will have enough parking for guests, as well for tourists and locals wanting to come hike the trails. Imagine having a coffee shop up there and a viewing pad of the city, ocean and Signal Hill?! You design a very unique hotel as well so it represents the city well and gets international press constantly.

This is where it is important to remind our readers that I have have no idea what it would actually take to build something like this up here without ruining the landscape. But is it possible, and is it worth it, if we can do something like this to add to the city without causing too much destruction?

Bring In More Influencers

I’d love to see more use of influencers going into the next few years as they’re a great way to showcase the province to a very targeted audience. Hikers, photographers, foodies, ATVers and all the niche enthusiasts who certainly would have a great time here. These enthusiasts tend to have the funds to travel, and often do, so it’s a no-brainer in my opinion.

If you get really good content and the power of paid ads and organic social marketing together, then the sky is the limit. There are a lot of people on this planet that have no idea this place exists. Hell, there are a lot of Americans that have no idea this place exists.

The tourism board is doing a good job with Instagram and the commercials are legendary. If they upped their Instagram posting to bi-daily and utilized all the apps features their content reach would 10x a month very quickly. They’re also missing out on TikTok and Youtube Shorts for a larger net to cast for easy views by the millions.

Use Of Seaplanes Possible?

newfoundland seaplane charters tourism

Bring in more, and also larger, seaplanes into NL. A Cessna Caravan can fly for quite a while, they’re comfortable and can pack in as many as 14 passengers on one flight. For a lot of folks traveling, tourism operators and locals who would pay for a seat on a service like this, and it really helps open up the province.

Between locals and tourists, and even perhaps not running 7 days a week, there could be opportunities for business to flourish in this industry here. Perhaps the demand is just too low? This would allow hunting, outdoor tours, remote vacation rentals, day tripping to Bonavista and other things easy.

I would like to think it also encourages further development of the tourism industry here as remote lodges and hotels can shuttle guests way easier and in larger numbers.

Those worried noise can look to the near future where electric seaplanes are in trial runs and should be the norm within a few years. They’re more quiet, better on the environment and this might open us up to a world of micro-transportation across large distances for a cheap fee.

Seriously, Get Uber Here

The taxi situation is not great, this is not news to anyone and I don’t see why not. Try it out, if it’s no good get rid of it and we can let the people decide what’s best for their transportation needs here. The cruise ship season usually brings chaos to the taxi availability, even George Street on a Friday night will be enough to cause a blackout.

It’s great for tourists who want to be spontaneous and can change locations on a whim. Car rentals are hard to come by and if we increase tourism year round, it’s only going to get worse. I know there are regulations and red tape to get through, but I think most people both local and tourist would like the option.

Is there room for Uber in St. John’s and the rest of NL? Taxi companies say no and people shouting out loud on social media tend to say bring it on.

Whaddya At?