Nfld. & Labrador·Election Notebook

A Come Home Year and a staycation push: It's the tale of two tourism plans

While the Liberals promised to "capitalize on that expanded global spotlight," the PCs called for a plan that would "capitalize on the natural beauty of our province."

Dueling tourism plans unveiled Wednesday

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  • PCs promise plan for flights
  • Liberals plan Come Home Year
  • Ballot office fuss
  • Peter Cowan answers your questions
  • Leader schedules for Thursday

The Progressive Conservatives and Liberals laid out duelling visions of a tourism strategy Wednesday, as the parties campaigned against the backdrop of Tuesday's attempted attack on local politicians.

PC Leader Ches Crosbie and Liberal Leader Andrew Furey both made tourism and travel announcements as part of their morning news conferences. The duelling plans, on their surface, shared some similar language.

While the Liberals promised to "capitalize on that expanded global spotlight," the PCs called for a plan that would "capitalize on the natural beauty of our province."

Welcome to Wednesday's Election Notebook, where CBC N.L. reporters read the fine print of political announcements — so you don't have to.

Here's how those plans differ, and everything else that's happening Wednesday.

Jockeying for post-pandemic position

Both parties say the provincial government should start preparing now for a possible tourism rush when COVID-19 vaccination and containment makes travel attractive again. And both parties say an expansion of the provincial government's tourism advertising campaign is needed for that goal.

But that's where the plans laid out by the PCs and the Liberals diverge. The Liberals say they'll expand tourism ads to target specific demographics — retirees, students, investors and tourists — in an effort to convince those individuals to visit and possibly stay in the province. The party said a new Furey government would also create a "one-stop online portal to promote all opportunities in communities across the province."

PC Leader Ches Crosbie describes his party's tourism plan alongside Jim Goudie, a candidate for the party in Humber-Gros Morne. (PC Party of Newfoundland & Labrador/Facebook)

The PC plan, as laid out on Wednesday, specified that it wants to target "high-value markets such as Europe and East Asia." The party said visitors from those areas have been big spenders in the tourism market.

And where the PCs are planning a new staycation push — with more advertising — the Liberal Party is pledging to create a Come Home Year in 2022, with most of the events happening that summer.

Liberal Leader Andrew Furey told reporters Wednesday he thinks the province will be ready for high-volume travel next year.

"I think that there are so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians around the globe that are just anxious and ready to come home, and we need to welcome them with open arms, and we're going to promote that as such," he said.

Liberal Leader Andrew Furey took questions from reporters Wednesday via Zoom. He was visiting a brewery in St. Anthony. (Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Other elements in the Liberal plan include a push on immigration, and offering opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living away to return to the province.

The PC plan also includes provisions for a regulation and tax review for tourism businesses, and the development of an air access strategy the party says could encourage airlines to return to the province.

The Town of Bonavista is a picturesque outport community in Newfoundland that draws a number of tourists each year. (Patrick Butler/CBC)

"The pandemic will eventually end, but that will not automatically mean a rebound for our tourism sector. We will lose out on those opportunities, and the thousands of jobs that go with them, unless we're much better prepared than before," he said.

Policy buffs can get each announcement, in their entirety, on the respective Progressive Convservative and Liberal campaign websites.

A disturbing incident casts a shadow

Liberal Leader Andrew Furey campaigned in St. Anthony on Wednesday morning, alongside district candidate Krista Lynn Howell. The pair visited a brewery, where they took questions from the media over Zoom.

The vast majority of the questions for Furey centered around Tuesday's incident in Deer Lake, with only one reference to the policy proposal the Liberals had released Wednesday morning.

In the NDP camp, leader Alison Coffin and her team decided to postpone a campaign event that was set to take place Wednesday morning in St. John's. She did canvass in her St. John's district on Wednesday afternoon. 

A spokesperson for her campaign said the postponement was due to the incident near Deer Lake, but said added Coffin wasn't concerned for her own safety.

PC Leader Ches Crosbie also answered questions about the incident Wednesday afternoon. He said it was "disturbing and concerning," but not overly worrying now that the suspect has been arrested.

Office problems solved

An Elections NL office that was being used for early in-person voting will remain open in Carbonear, after disagreements among political candidates led Elections NL to announce its closure earlier Wednesday.

The body told the media that the office would be closing at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, due to "numerous complaints from one of the political parties on the proximity of the special ballot office to the constituency office of the current member of the House of Assembly."

It was not clear which politician complained, but Liberal candidate Steve Crocker is the area's incumbent MHA.

However, by 3 p.m. Elections NL announced that a "satisfactory resolution" had been reached by the politicians.

According to a spokesperson for Elections NL, Crocker agreed to cover up his office's sign, and all parties accepted that compromise. The offices are nearby, and Elections NL said its temporary location was chosen "due to a lack of available and accessible rental space in the area."

A spokesperson for the NDP campaign said that party had nothing to do with the complaint, and the Liberal campaign said it was pleased a resolution has been reached. The district also has PC and Independent candidates, whose campaigns haven't yet responded to requests for comment.

Speaking of special ballots, here's a little PSA: you don't need a reason to ask for one, but you do need some proof of identity to fill one out. You can learn more about the process on the Elections Newfoundland and Labrador website.

Answers for you!

CBC reporter Peter Cowan took your politics questions Wednesday, and you can find the results on the CBC N.L. Instagram page.

He dropped a nugget of wisdom about the political phenomenon known as "parachute candidates," and offered up some fashion advice along the way.

"Much like parachute pants, parachute candidates aren't really in style like they once were."

You can find that answer, and others, in the stories section of our Instagram profile. You can also ask your questions there — Peter will reappear next Wednesday.

In other news

The Telegram's editorial page suggests voters in Newfoundland and Labrador to have some sort of policy preference in mind when they head to the polls, and says, "If there's one thing this general election seems to lack, it's a reason for even having it take place."

Evan Careen, a Labrador reporter for the Telegram, checks in with chambers of commerce in Labrador.

Political watcher Tim Powers tells the Canadian Press that watching a Newfoundland and Labrador election feels like "opposite day."

What's coming up

  • NDP Leader Alison Coffin remains in St. John's on Thursday. She'll make a policy announcement in the morning.
  • PC Leader Ches Crosbie tours central Newfoundland Thursday. He will hold a press conference in Grand Falls-Windsor, then stop in Bishop's Falls, Botwood, Lewisporte and Twillingate.
  • Liberal Leader Andrew Furey will visit the district of Humber-Gros Morne in the morning before heading east to central Newfoundland.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter, working primarily with the St. John's Morning Show.

With files from Patrick Butler

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