Stan Cook Jr. is a private tourism owner and operator from St. John’s. His family business is located in Cape Broyle, Newfoundland & Labrador. The family business, Stan Cook Sea-Kayak Adventures, is one of the province’s first adventure tourism operations, having been in business since 1970. Stan Jr. was the founding President of the Adventure Tourism Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
He is a past chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. Stan was co-chair of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership. He is a Past Chair of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and Member of the Canadian Sustainable Tourism Advisory Council. Stan is currently chair of the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism and past chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board. Stan is also a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
How do the experiences you offer at Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
Whales, Icebergs, Puffins, Sea Caves, Waterfalls, certainly help. Stan Sr started this company in1970, We are the original Newfoundland adventure company and since then tens of thousands of locals and visitors have enjoyed our educational, for all ages adventures. Stan Sr was a high school teacher and designed the tours to highlight the real Newfoundland. Showcasing the incredible seascapes with lots of information about the unique coastal culture of the island’s outport villages and the locals way of life.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
Tours in the 70’s-80’s and even beginning of 90’s were more multiday adventures with guest interested in spending a week or two in our destination. Now they have have only hours/days to experience it. Also, guests used to want to use tents as their accommodations, very small proportion of our guests want that today.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
The safety aspect is crucial and once our staff’s onshore orientation provides the necessary basics of paddle strokes and kayak safety happens most of our paddlers don’t realize the amount of emphasis and awareness that goes into providing them a high level of safety. Our guides/ naturalists are highly trained to keep guests comfortable and are always nearby for instruction, narration and assistance. WE pride ourselves on excellent guest to guide ratios.
Every trip is similar yet every one is also unique. So guests should come prepared that our guides will control the controllable aspects of the tour but the uncontrollable aspects are in Mother Nature’s domain.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Guests enjoy unforgettable backdrops provided by cliffs, sea arches and icebergs while paddling alongside puffins, and gazing into the eyes of whales! So come peacefully navigate amazing coastlines, explore caves, hidden coves and waterfalls accessible only by kayak.
What sets Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures apart from other, similar, organizations?
Our experience and valued name brand. Our varied seascape include caves, sea arches, hidden coves and waterfalls combined with incredible interaction among whales and icebergs provides an unforgettable experience.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
We offer authentic adventure, no shortcuts or surprises, our activities have the right balance of excitement and entertainment. Small groups travel at a leisurely pace, taking frequent breaks for photos, questions, local folklore and snacks. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY from our guests.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
Paddling along side pods of humpback whales in small secluded coves has provided the most emotional reactions from our guests.