The following is a transcript of notes taken from a discussion group
at the October 30th "Your City, Your Ideas" dialogue session.

Convenor: Gary Lane
Number of Participants: 6

  • Need to define why tourists come here
  • Keep part of the city "as it is"
  • Selling the city to tourists - we can do / should do a better job
  • First stop for most tourists is "downtown"
  • Give people "hands on" experience - traditional activities that are unique to us
  • Many tourists say their expectations or perceptions are exceeded
    • the people are friendlier than they expected
  • Downtown is considered clean & beautiful but other areas are not
    • downtown has lots of trees - other areas (suburbs) do not
      • dead trees are not being removed
      • new developments are clear cut
        • need laws to protect existing trees
        • rationale for clear cut is shallow root systems -
  • IDEA - Beautify the parkway median at MUN by planting a hedge to hide the fence
  • IDEA - re-establish the "neighbourhood beautification contest"
  • Municipal plan - council needs to stop its current "ad hoc" approach
  • Harbour front - Pier 7 felt to be the wrong type of development
    • Needs to be "tied in" to the whole area
    • "Working Harbour" is the attraction - don't block the view of that
    • New condos take advantage of that "working harbour" backdrop.
    • Need to hide the parking garage with a facade like a heritage structure
  • IDEA - Make Lemarchant Road area the location for Class A office space
    • Overlooks the city and harbour
  • Tourism message - provide training for the service providers / guides / shop keepers, etc.  about St. John's - the facts so they get the story straight.
  • Access to information - The province has a "binder" - the City needs a "binder" for tourism operators
  • Information about who provides what services - City Info Centre is great but greater access is needed
  • Ambassador program - excellent but it was felt that they seem to focus on cruise ships - need to expand program to other areas
  • Conferences and conventions are a better income generator for most merchants
    • More spouses attend when St. John's is the site for conferences/conventions than other destinations for many organizations.
  • Put greater effort into promoting the "return visit".
  • Cruise ships - seen as an expense by some businesses - no tourist revenue
    • benefit only to certain businesses such as tour bus operators - limited or no benefit to merchants - cancellations result in financial losses because extra staffing costs not covered.
    • Greater effort to make St. John's a "home port" for the cruise lines
    • Some merchants find that the smaller cruise ships have the "higher spending" passengers
  • Other concerns include the chronic rental vehicle shortage
  • If they are not already, the City and its neighbouring communities should partner in tourism development.
  • Question - What is the relevance of Destination St. John's to this discussion?

On February 28, during Committee of the Whole, Council will review the City’s annual capital budget plan for 2018.……

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