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REF NO.: 162

SUBJECT: Public forum looks at the impact of virtual tourism on the Northern Peninsula
DATE: April 27, 2007

Can the Internet help make the tourism industry of the Northern Peninsula more sustainable? This is one of the questions which will be addressed at a public session organized by the Harris Centre and scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, May 2nd, in Plum Point.
            Dr. Edward Addo, the chair of the tourism program at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, will discuss how other tourist destinations are using computers, communications technology and the Internet to attract more visitors and to increase their satisfaction. “Before traveling to a remote destination like the Viking Trail, it is very likely that visitors will have researched the area in great detail, and more and more, it is very likely that they will have done their research on the Internet,” said Dr. Addo.
            In other destinations, the Internet has proven a very effective way to bring tourism operators together and to combine their individual businesses into a seamless travel experience for the consumer who is considering traveling there. Can the same be said for the Viking Trail? Or, is the area discouraging visitors by making their planning experience more difficult than it needs to be? How can the Internet play a role in coordinating the activities of tourism operators and in attracting more visitors to the region? 
           Dr. Addo will be joined on the panel by three persons with expertise in tourism and information technology. Geoffrey Ash is the director of Student Connections at Memorial University in St. John’s. Student Connections is an organization that helps businesses, seniors and others by providing students with computer skills to assist them. Loretta Decker is the supervisor of the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, where she meets thousands of tourists every year. And Lorne Warren is an entrepreneur based in Cow Head, specializing in information technology, websites and tourism.
            The session will begin a 7 pm and will be held at the Plum Point Motel, in Plum Point. Admission is free and a reception will be held afterwards, sponsored by the Harris Centre.
            This session will be held in conjunction with a workshop to be held the following day at the Plum Point Motel, where local leaders and stakeholders will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Memorial University and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. This workshop is also open to the general public and registration is free. The objective of the workshop is to identify new opportunities for the university community to work with local organizations, in order to improve the social and economic conditions of the Great Northern Peninsula.
            This workshop is sponsored by the Harris Centre, the Red Ochre Development Board and the Nordic Economic Development Corporation. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.

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