Tumbler Ridge Adopts New Tourism Plan

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

April Moi from Destination BC was in town last week to provide an overview of the new Community Tourism Plan 2014 – Tumbler Ridge.

Moi says that the new community tourism plan was based on work that was done in March, before the mines closed, but a secondary meeting was held after the Wolverine Mine was idled to add in new objectives.

Moi says there were 15 tourism stakeholders that signed in at the meeting on March 5, who were there for most of the day, but many others that came and went throughout the day, too.

The new tourism plan is a revision of the original tourism plan that was done in 2007. Back when it was done, it was one of the first in the province, but now there are about 150 throughout the province.

Based on the original plan, The Community Tourism Foundations have funded brochures, maps, photo shoots and signage. The decisions around funding are stakeholder driven, and the stated goals coming out of the meeting was to diversify the Tumbler Ridge economy through tourism development and marketing.

There were a number of objectives identified that would reach this goal. The first is to increase the overall length of stay of visitors.

The second objective is to increase the number of visitors outside main events like Emperor’s Challenge and Grizfest. The final objective is to increase the number of high-yield visitors.

This will be accomplished by a number of strategies and tactics, some of which have been put into place, some of which haven’t. These include establishing a Tumbler Ridge Tourism Working group (which was started in June), building on the initiative to attain the Geopark Designation (done), Develop a visitor experience plan, and support the nomination of the Alaska Highway as a National Historic Site, which is ongoing.

She says that the new community tourism plan was based on work that was done in March, before the mines closed. There were 15 tourism stakeholders that signed in at the event, but many others that came and went throughout the day.

This new plan is a revision of a plan that was done in 2007. Back when it was done, it was one of the first in the province, but now there are about 150 throughout the province. From the plan, The Community Tourism Foundations have funded brochures, maps, photo shoots and signage. The decisions around funding are stakeholder driven, and the stated goals coming out of the meeting was to diversify the Tumbler Ridge economy through tourism development and marketing.

There were a number of objectives identified that would reach this goal. The first is to increase the overall length of stay of visitors.

The second objective is to increase the number of visitors outside main events like Emperor’s Challenge and Grizfest. The final objective is to increase the number of high-yield visitors.

This will be accomplished by a number of strategies and tactics, some of which have been put into place, some of which haven’t. These include establishing a Tumbler Ridge Tourism Working group (which was started in June), building on the initiative to attain the Geopark Designation (done), Develop a visitor experience plan, and support the nomination of the Alaska Highway as a National Historic Site, which is ongoing.

A second session, after the mines closed, yielded additional ideas, including an improved reservation system for camping and an events and festivals framework to maximize Tumbler’s ability to draw people.

Moi says there has been tremendous coverage on Tumbler Ridge because of the paleontology, and that the District needs to work out how to capitalize on it.

The next steps, she says, is for the District to review plan in detail, to identify and agree upon priority tactics and identify who should lead this push.

Councillor Don McPherson says that the message is getting out and, when he was down at UBCM, every Minister the District talked to brought up the Kinuseo Falls Road. “It wasn’t us,” he says. “They were the ones bringing it up. Of course, we’ve been talking about it for 14 years, so…” He says that Mike Bernier has been doing an excellent job of promoting the District, and he expects big things when representatives go down to Victoria to meet with a variety of Ministers later this year.

Copies of the plan are available at town hall.