We recently attended a tourism conference that emphasized the importance of a new marketing focus, and the need to provide authentic experiences for tourists. In a world that is directed by “word of mouth” sales and a reliance on social media to share encounters – the delivery of genuine products provides a quality assurance that is paramount to success. As Newfoundlanders, we must therefore embrace every aspect of our business and take ownership of our products & services.
“… provide authentic experiences…”
During this presentation, an especially talented and successful business operator in our capital city, suggested that she often found herself apologizing to guests when they discovered she wasn’t from Newfoundland.
At the time, I was rather taken aback by her admission, primarily because I had no idea she was from the mainland, but as well, the people at her shop deliver one of the best Newfoundland experiences available. One that we often recommend to our guests, especially FIT travellers who are joining us for a short “orientation” tour of the city, where they expect good recommendations on food, shopping, and service providers.
Unfortunately, I had to leave immediately following the presentation, so I didn’t have an opportunity to share my thoughts about what it means to be a Newfoundlander. For I believe that only a “true” Newfoundlander can survive in Newfoundland – and she appears to be thriving.
“… only a “true” Newfoundlander…”
Just by showing the bravado required to make the move to Newfoundland – puts her in a very advanced standing for achieving “Newfoundland” status. A brave new world is somewhat of an understatement for anyone considering life on the rock.
To become a “true” Newfoundlander, first and foremost, you must possess excellent communication skills. We spend an inordinate amount of time in the house or in the ‘Store’ (shed), away from the weather, working on projects, and spending time with family and friends. Thus, it also helps if you’re observant and hold a general level of interest in a variety of pertinent subjects – for this provides excellent topics for conversation and establishes a baseline for the intelligence required to survive here.
Newfoundlanders are very socialistic by nature. There are only half a million people in this province and most all of us are blood relatives. When you have an intimate understanding of your neighbour, it develops a social conscience that obliges you to lend a hand. Whether its “turning” a boat or offering a run to the hospital, cooking for the church supper, or getting out for a community “time” and fund raiser – we’re there for each other.
“… very socialistic by nature.”
Newfoundlanders are spontaneous. Our environment is in a constant state of flux, and you must be willing to adjust plans at the last minute if you hope to make the most out of every weather forecast.
Over the centuries, Newfoundlanders have developed an interesting sense of “self deprecating” humour. We laugh at hardships, and when we laugh at ourselves we maintain a positive outlook with little fear of offending others. This helps us see beyond even the gravest situations, allowing you to pick up the pieces and move forward in a timely fashion.
Newfoundlander’s have a very bizarre sense of time, space and place. You’ve never truly experienced island time until you’ve stayed “a spell” in Newfoundland – where “Fifteen minutes” is a figure of speech that can mean anytime within the hour (otherwise known as “The once”). “A couple of days ago” denotes any occasion in the past year. And, “Just over the way”, “No distance”, or “Just a flick”, provides a measure to just about any location in the town or city.
“… self deprecating humour…”
We go “down” when we head north, your surname is of far greater significance than one given, and a ‘Comes From Away’ is always welcome to stay, once you understand the lay of the land and embrace the playful nature of the people.
God guard thee Newfoundland and the many characters who makes this place so special. This land was made for you and me.