Sunday, November 9, 2008

Timing Is Everything....when you swing the club..

On June 12, 2007 Robert Ghiz appointed Valerie Docherty, a former civil servant and school teacher, as PEI's Tourism Minister and with that gave her the task of living up to his commitment to dispose of our $30,000,000.00 investment in our Provincial golf courses. On July 30, 2007 Robert Ghiz confirmed to Islanders that the courses were indeed for sale and his Government were actively pursuing getting rid of the courses. Miss Docherty had engaged Melissa MacEachern as her Deputy Minister and together with the team at Golf Links and a high paid consultant they set out to develop a plan to get rid of these courses. Sort of like getting the fox to figure out how to protect the hen house. In the fall of 2007 when they had even more evidence that these courses were bleeding away taxpayer's money did they put them up for sale? NO! These “business wannabes” decided that they may be able to run them better than the last Binns crowd. Even I didn't think they could do anything as crazy as buying back Dundarave but they surely have.... Back in the fall of 2007 there was tons of financing money and buyers in the market and lots of interest knocking at the door but did they even try and take advantage of this and get the Province out of this money losing venture? NO! Again in the spring of 2008 when market conditions were ripe did they even try and put it up for sale? NO! They decided to run it again and lose even more taxpayer's money to the tune of $2,380,000.00 this year alone. In the middle of the summer when they started to see the numbers falling and the economy starting to falter did they step up their pursuit to dispose of these courses? NO! Could they find a buyer to give them 1/4 of what they were worth in the spring of 2007? NO! Do they even have any idea how much of our taxpayer’s value they have squandered with their attempt to turn these losing investments around? NO! Is it time for the Premier to clean house and live up to his commitment and sell these courses? YES! Is Valerie likely to sit with me at the Liberal fund raising dinner this Saturday night? NO!
Tourism tumbles in September
Thursday, November 6, 2008
CBC News
In a very poor month for P.E.I.'s tourism industry, even air traffic, a strong performer all year, was flat during September.
Compared with a year ago in September, traffic over the Confederation Bridge was down 22 per cent and ferry traffic fell 12 per cent, which led to a 6.5 per cent drop in occupancy.
Low visitation in August was almost entirely offset by a 33.3 per cent jump in Islanders staying in the province for their holidays. September also saw an increase in local vacations, up 16.7 per cent, but it was not enough to make up for the loss of visitors.
Over the year, a strong winter and spring have somewhat compensated for a poor high season. Occupancy on the year to date is down 1.1 per cent.
Some areas of strength
International travel is showing some strength, particularly from Germany (up 30.7 per cent) and Japan (up 70.0 per cent). But international travellers make up only 6.8 per cent of the market, so those increases don't amount to much overall. For North American visitors, there was a drop of 12 per cent in September, and that's before the economic crisis that struck in October.
These trends have tourism operators thinking about new marketing strategies, and some have noticed that more affluent people are still travelling. Occupancy rates at many of the one- and two-star hotels in the province are down, while they're up at more expensive three- and four-star hotels.
Kevin Murphy, chair of the Tourism Advisory Council, told CBC News Thursday those wealthy travellers need to be the Island's focus.
"The market in those levels, in those sectors, are performing better than, if you want to call it, the lower-level tourism product," said Murphy.
"There's a strong argument that that's where we should be positioning Prince Edward Island."
Although there may be hope for that market, focusing promotion on that group would be little comfort for operators focused on the bargain traveller.


Anonymous said...

Its time for some objective 3rd party business leaders without fiduciary or political interest in the golf courses to develop a "phased" plan to profitably dispose of these assets, or to reduce the taxpayer burden by focusing improvements on some (and make them work), while letting others go. There should also be a measure of reality that this may not be a good time to sell and either lease or idle the properties until a proper return can be earned.

Anonymous said...

That last line made me laugh so hard I snorted. That was great!

Anonymous said...

These prime Provincial assets should stay in the public realm for perpetuity.

Afterall, Crowbush was a Provincial Park used by campers and hard working, honest Islanders who couldn't afford beachfront homes...

It would be unethical and a travesty to turn this 'asset of the PEOPLE' (former Provincial Park) over to an unscruplous private interest developer.

It would mean less shorefront access and less 'public land' for Islanders.

Timing is everything. This land belongs to the PEOPLE of PEI.