Saturday, February 26, 2011

TOURISM: Americans bypassing southwest N.B.: officials

Tourism and economic development officials say it's no surprise the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews is losing money because too many American tourists are bypassing the region.

The provincial government lost nearly $2 million on the hotel and the nearby golf course in 2009 and this week Tourism Minister Trevor Holder announced Fairmont will no longer manage the property.

Michael Rouse, the executive director of Enterprise Charlotte, said there should be a visitor information centre along the four-lane highway to direct American tourists to the town.

'It's our belief that we need an appropriate gateway to represent the province properly.'— Andreas Haun, Charlotte Coastal Regional Tourism Assoc.

"To not have a tourism information centre that can let people know they're passing through, you know the number one resort community in Atlantic Canada, you're missing an opportunity," Rouse said.

The region lost its highway visitor information centre a couple of years ago when the new highway went in and has been lobbying the provincial government for a new one ever since.

Andreas Haun, the general manager of Kingsbrae Gardens and a member of the Charlotte Coastal Regional Tourism Association, said the entire province would benefit from a new, highway-accessible centre in St. Stephen.

"It's our belief that we need an appropriate gateway to represent the province properly," Haun said.

"With so much traffic on that bridge, it is crucial we have an appropriate visitor's centre there."

Haun said pamphlets on a shelf aren't enough anymore.
Bright future

When Holder announced the Algonquin would no longer be managed by Fairmont, he said he saw a bright future for the Tudor-style hotel that first opened in 1889.

The tourism minister said the number of American tourists is up 10 per cent over the past year.

"That tells me there's a market for selling New Brunswick around the world and throughout the United States and it tells me that a world-class iconic facility like St. Andrews Algonquin is still needed," he said.

The hotel needs up to $20 million in upgrades and together with the Algonquin golf course lost almost $2 million in 2009.

It also employs 250 people in peak season and generates up to $6 million a year for the local economy.

The provincial government leased the Algonquin hotel in 1973 and bought it in 1984.

During pre-budget talks, the provincial government suggested that selling it could be a way to help tackle the deficit.

Media Credit: Art MacKay
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  1. I told them how to do the deal how to reach the market they just dont get it................ as always C W Creaser Live the Dream

  2. Yup ... and anytime someone new arrives, they change the game ... ignore what works ... and play with their view of the world. We have given our destiny away to the incompetent.

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  4. You don't loose money because your sales drop ... you loose money because you have no control over the other side of the ledger. Hope springs eternal!

  5. That is very true, no advertising, and a great golf course to go with the hotel, marketing does help! B Dougherty