Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guardian Bang On.... a failing grade..

Back in February the Guardian had an editorial on Tourism which pointed out that our Government was using our Tourism Department to help someone get a PhD and the Editor summed it with these final comments... "Well, tourism is too important for P.E.I. to be treated like a lab rat." and I concur and after the complete failure of the Alanis Morissette festival "experiment" the pupil should be sent back to school before she loses us taxpayers more money.... a big fat "F"... have a good look at the last paragraph of the Guardian's Editorial that follows..

Is change in the wind for tourism?
The Guardian
Moderation seems to be a foreign word for Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty and her deputy Melissa MacEachern. They were criticized last year for inaction in the tourism sector. In their defence, the marketing plan for 2007 was already in place when the new government took power last June but as the months progressed, there wasn’t a whole lot new coming from the department. Or so we thought. Then the bombshell dropped this week that government was considering handing over the department to a Crown corporation, catching everyone by surprise, including more than 300 employees in the Department of Tourism and the union that represents them. This seems to have been poorly handled. And it has spawned the expected reaction. The union was so upset at not being consulted and at Docherty’s comments about getting the “best people” in the right places, it called for an apology and immediate clarification of government’s intentions. The Opposition, instead of looking at any merits of the plan, immediately arrived at the worst-case scenario, suggesting that all seasonal workers would be fired and replaced by Liberal supporters. Besides creating a disservice by causing undue concern for those workers, is the Opposition suggesting that those employees are all supporters of the previous government and were hired for that reason? That, in itself, would be an embarrassing admission. Another question is, why did the province create Tourism P.E.I. as a Crown corporation in 1998? It still exists today but has never been put to use. If the Opposition is saying a Crown corporation is a step backwards, why did it create Tourism P.E.I. when it was the government? Government should give a full explanation of why it’s considering the Crown corporation idea. Tourism has endured a rocky period this decade. There was a slight improvement in visitations in 2007 — of between two and three per cent — but getting back to those heady days just after the opening of the Confederation Bridge is going to take a lot of work. For the department to proceed along the present path would mean the status quo is acceptable. It’s not.We have assurances nothing will happen in the Department of Tourism this year. But change is imminent because the four government golf courses are officially for sale, as are all Rodd hotel and resort properties. It’s important to remember that moving tourism to a Crown corporation is very much just a proposal. There are clear statements from both Docherty and MacEachern that the province will consult widely with the tourism industry before making a final decision and there will be no changes made for the 2008 tourism season. The industry stakeholders must ensure they hold them to that promise. Don Cudmore of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., is taking a wait-and-see attitude. “It may not be that bad,’’ said Cudmore. The industry wants what is best and is seeking more information. It’s an attitude the Opposition should also take instead of adding to the hysteria. Docherty and MacEachern have turned this ‘Gentle Island’ on its heels. It’s now an Island in turmoil with angry waves washing ashore. MacEachern said she is doing her PhD in tourism and one of the things she’s looking at is what are the best practices in tourism development and management around the world. Well, tourism is too important for P.E.I. to be treated like a lab rat.
The Editor


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's easy to point fingers...

But let's make sure we roast the right 'marshmellow' before the camp fire goes cold.

I fail to see the 'value' of the folksinger who occupies prime real estate on 5th Floor as one of the premier's 'advisors'... deadwood collects magets afterall.

The old Callbeck erea is surely 'OVER' - why not some new blood?

[Sadly the DM of Tourism didn't make the grade...maybe Myrtle will step up]

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the boondoggle bringing Abigail Breslin and her family to the island on the taxpayers earlier this year to help promote tourism. I haven't heard any more on that in the ways of promotion or advertising? How about Tourism PEI holding a contest to fly a winning family to the island. It would certainly generate a lot of interest and probably much needed publicity.