September 30, 2013

The Columbia Cultural Tourism Association has had a busy few months! We want to make sure you, as a stakeholder, are kept abreast of what we are doing in our efforts to further a new vision for Columbia Valley tourism.

Forum A Great Success
Our Forum in May was a success in every way possible. Over 70 influencers and networkers from all walks of Valley life – government, resort tourism, major business, independent business, the arts, and environmental protection to name a few – gathered for an introduction to the CCTA and a presentation by our Cultural Tourism consultant, Steven Thorne. We received overwhelmingly positive responses both during the evening and in the days afterward, with almost everyone very interested in seeing a collaborative voice in cultural tourism grow and prosper in the Valley. Our quick online survey received over 50 responses, with a very strong vote of support. Thanks!

Site Visits And Interviews
Canada’s leading advocate for place-based cultural tourism, Steven Thorne, was in the Valley for a very intensive 12 day tour at the end of August. His interviews and site visits gave him a thorough overview of what the Columbia Valley has and what it still needs, and a cautious respect for Pat Bavin’s backroad driving skills. In the coming months Steven will be completing interviews and compiling his insights; he will return to the Valley in January, 2014, to present his final report and strategy to the CCTA Board.
Some of Steven’s initial impressions which he shared with the Board:

  • We are starting fresh with cultural tourism, without the entrenched cultural ‘turf wars’ he sees in other parts of Canada. This is a great plus.
  • Our farmer’s markets and visual arts heritage assets are far advanced for an area of our size and population.
  • The mixed-itinerary travellers who already visit the Valley but don’t know all we have to offer are our near-term target, with improved, coordinated communication and a comprehensive Web information hub a priority task.
  • There is work to be done in the coming years to foster underdeveloped venues and attractions in the Valley in order to have a cultural tourism package we can take to the broader market.

Steven will present his final strategy and recommendations to us in January, at which time the CCTA will announce our future plans.

A Cultural Comment
We are all climbing a learning curve as we seek to understand the needs and desires of this large and diverse group known as the Cultural Traveller. With the help of you, our stakeholders, we will be adding the ‘lure of the local’ into our blueprint as we build a solid foundation for the CCTA’s product development. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Columbia Cultural Tourism Association as we continue to evolve a collaborative vision for Valley tourism.

The CCTA Board of Directors