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There’s been a quick glimpse of summer during the past couple of weeks, as some warm temperatures and sunshine no doubt raised optimism of a great summer to come.

And how would anyone think any differently, especially since Newfoundland and Labrador broke one of its annual traditions — no snow on the May 24 weekend — and a record-breaking 30-plus temperature in Gander on May 22.

Top this off with predictions from Environment Canada that the summer of 2012 is showing signs of above average temperatures on the island of Newfoundland.

Just what does all this mean?

What this should mean (hopefully) is more and more people staying around the province to enjoy not only some good weather, but also what has turned into a thriving tourist industry.

A lot of money has gone into building the provincial tourism sector to make it attractive to CFAs (come-from-aways), so it should be more than good enough for us locals. And local or in-province tourists are actually the more important factor in the survival of a lot of tourism-dependent businesses, and they will be even more so with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) canning its Regional Economic Development Boards funding last week. The REDBs are no doubt a driving force behind growing the tourism industry in the province, especially in smaller towns, and with a bleak future it leaves questions as to what will happen to the tourist sector.

So, pack up the car, camper, boat or whatever mode of transportation you prefer, and take a trip around the province. The trip will certainly be an enjoyable one, and it might be one of the last times you get to see some of the events, attractions or sites of the province.

If you don’t have a week or two to spare for provincial travel, there’s still plenty of regional attractions and sights to see. There’s also a good chance, that if polled, many residents of communities in this region, people who have lived here all their lives, have never made that extra effort to check out these communities, just because they’re a little more out of the way.

So, there’s no better time than this summer for people in Gander to check out the beach in Banting Memorial Park in Musgrave Harbour (check out the picture on this week’s front page for a quick glimpse of the beach, and how enjoyable it can be on a sunny day).

Or maybe, the fine folks of Glenwood and Appleton can make a day trip to the Eastport Peninsula to find out what’s happening at the Beaches Heritage Centre, and to take a look at the stages of Salvage.

There’s also a lot to see and experience with a turn off the Trans-Canada Highway heading north through Gambo towards New-Wes-Valley, so maybe an overnight trip might be best.

For those with a little more time to spare, there are once-in-lifetime things to see and do in off-the-beaten path places, such as St. Anthony, Harbour Breton, Bonavista, Fogo, Gros Morne, Burgeo, and Fortune — not all things good happen in St. John’s.

The efforts made by development groups in these smaller places have been exceptional, and have helped make Newfoundland and Labrador a place to visit.

Go now, because the future may be uncertain.

Even though we don’t know it, this province is a place to vacation. So, instead of flying off to destinations unknown, be a stay-at-home tourist this summer — take off in the winter if you must, but even then there’s lots to do at home.

And remember, this is still Newfoundland and Labrador so be prepared for any type of weather. One week after 30-plus temperatures, the residents of Gander experienced snow on May 29.

Have a great summer.

Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Environment Canada, Regional Economic Development Boards Beaches Heritage Centre Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Gander, Island of Newfoundland Banting Memorial Park Musgrave Harbour Gambo New-Wes-Valley St. Anthony Burgeo

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