Riverfront Chalets among those recognized as industry leaders
© Brandon Anstey/The Beacon
BIG WIN – HNL’s Carol-Ann Gilliard, right, presented the owners and operators of Riverfront Chalets & Rafting Newfoundland with the Maxxim Vacations Tourism Business of the Year award. Paul and Joy Rose accepted the award, which honours dedication to growing the industry.
By BRANDON ANSTEY, KEVIN HIGGINS and ANDREA GUNN
Hard work is said to pay off, and the efforts of the finest of the province’s tourism industry were recognized last week at Hotel Gander.
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual trade show and conference wrapped up with a lot of cheering and some heart-felt speeches on Friday night at the Excellence Awards Gala.
Riverfront Chalets and Rafting Newfoundland in Aspen Brook, just west of Grand Falls-Windsor, took one of the top honours with the Maxxim Vacations Tourism Business of the Year Award.
During the presentation it was noted that Paul and Joy Rose have built their business into a tourism industry powerhouse, and were deserving of the award that appreciates “businesses that have built a reputation for excelling and continuously improving upon all areas of operations - customer service, human resources and business results.”
The owners expressed gratitude for the support of the tourism industry and its partners.
“I’d just like to say thank you for mentoring and encouraging us along this adventurous path,” said Ms. Rose. “You’ve helped us to make the big plunge to turn our seasonal rafting business into a year-round adventure. It was the natural beauty that attracted us in the beginning and it’s that natural beauty that we felt we must share with everyone else.”
It wasn’t Riverfront Chalet’s first time on the stage to accept an HNL award. In 2012 they took the Sustainable Tourism Award. Even with their prior win, Mr. Rose called this year’s award win “overwhelming.”
The couple started their business in 1997 as mainly a river rafting company, and expanded to add four chalets in 2008. They now operated year round with the addition of winter adventure opportunities and other packages in the offseason.
Aside from making sure to put customers first, the Roses say their key to success is offering something unique as well as high end.
“There’s a lot of middle-of-the-road places, but the public is looking for higher end accommodations,” Ms. Rose said. “They want the adventure, but want to come back to a hot tub at the end of the day.”
One of the most significant awards handed out during the gala was the H. Clayton Sparkes Accommodator of the Year, which went to The Fogo Island Inn, in Joe Batt’s Arm.
The award recognizes the dedication of an individual or company that provides quality service all while making significant contributions to the tourism industry.
“Since its much anticipated opening, the award recipient has been met with rave reviews and global recognition. The inn is a brilliant creation of both contemporary and traditional design,” he said. “The inn offers a rare chance to truly experience the culture that will deepen any guests’ awareness.”
HNL recognized Marble Zip Tours with its Cal LeGrow Tourisim Innovator of the Year Award.
Marble Zip Tours, is located in Steady Brook, has expanded over the years to include accommodation packages, recreational vehicles rentals and longer and extended zip tours. This year they added the Spider Web.
The JAC Tourism Champion of the Year award went to Rick Stanley, recognizing “an individual that has worked diligently to ensure that the tourism industry prospers and . . . have given freely of their time, often at personal expense because they are passionate about this industry.”
As an important part of the tourism, food, of course, could not be left of the awards menu, as chef Roary MacPherson was announced as Restauranteur of Year. MacPherson is regarded as one the province’s finest culinary masters. He’s performed in competitions on both the national and international stage.
Three other awards were handed out during the gala, as Dion and Dora Finlay of Leaside Leaside Suites and Executive Apartments in St. John’s accepted the PRIDE Award for “raising the profile of the bed and breakfast industry.” It was career highlight, said Mr. Finlay.
Adventure Canada, an Ontario based family-owned expedition company, won the Cruise Vision Award. The company has been operating in this province for 20 years.
The cruise expedition company takes curious passengers to different locations in the province, and have “demonstrated a real vision for the potential of rural ports in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Eastern Audio Limited, who provided the quality sound for the event, was recognized for their efforts in creating strong alliances in the tourism industry. The St. John’s-based company was presented with the Corporate Partner of the Year award for helping to improve the role of HNL and its partners.
HNL also handed out three additional awards during its three-day conference, including the Cultural Tourism Award, Doug Wheeler Award, and the Sustainable Tourism Award.
The Shorefast Foundation, which was established in 2003 as a registered charity to develop a new model for economic and cultural resilience for Fogo Island, received the Cultural Tourism Award during a convention luncheon.
The Doug Wheeler Award went to Colleen Kennedy. For the past 18 years shge has been instrumental in the establishment of significant tourism-related infrastructure on the west coast of the province, including developing the cultural blueprint known as Creative Gros Morne.
The award recognizes a group or individual who has made a significant contribution to the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, and honours
Marble Inn Resort in Steady Brook received the Sustainable Tourism Award. This award, presented by HNL and Parks Canada, goes to the industry operator who has made strides in sustainable tourism practices and continually works toward the protection of our natural and cultural resources.