More heritage sites should raise their own funds, says tourism minister

Christopher Mitchelmore says he encourages heritage site operators like the Random Passage film set do their own fundraising to keep their facilities running.

Christopher Mitchelmore applauds Random Passage film set operators for recent fundraising campaign

Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore says he encourages heritage sites to find new ways to make money to keep their sites running. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's tourism minister says he encourages heritage site operators to do their own fundraising to keep their facilities running.

Christopher Mitchelmore's comments come after a GoFundMe campaign was launched to raise $5,000 to pay for repairs at the Random Passage film set in New Bonaventure.

We certainly encourage community and regional heritage organizations to become less reliant on a government subsidy.- Christopher Mitchelmore

In 15 days, 25 people donated $2,335, nearly half the goal of the trust that runs the site.

"We certainly encourage community and regional heritage organizations to become less reliant on a government subsidy and to pursue other means of funding," Mitchelmore told CBC Radio's Central Morning.

"We understand that general revenue coming in from admissions does not always cover all the cost," he said.

"The more organizations can be creative and offer something unique or different or find ways to generate other revenues then just on admissions, they will be more successful."

Operators of the Random Passage film set, located just outside of New Bonaventure, have launched a fundraising campaign to cover much needed repairs. (Random Passage)

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation contributes about $950,000 annually to heritage attractions across the province, and since 2005 more than $261,000 has gone to the Random Passage site.

But with government facing a financial crunch in recent years, Mitchelmore says the funding simply isn't there to cover all the costs that attractions like Random Passage require.

"GoFundMe is just another platform to raise money, so I certainly comment the organization for starting this initiative to raise $5,000," Mitchelmore said.

Joe's Place from the movie The Grand Seduction, which is used to serve meals to visitors, is another example of how a tourist site created a new source of cash. (Twitter/@experiencenl)

Mitchelmore said there are other examples of attractions around the province that have found additional revenue streams besides just selling admission tickets.

He pointed to the movie set for The Grand Seduction on the Bonavista Peninsula, where the Joe's Place bar from the film has been turned into a restaurant.

He would like to see more organizations thinking of different ways they can make money and get more value out of their attractions.

With files from Central Morning