So, how is business you ask? It seems it all depends on who you talk to. The Columbia Valley Tourism Marketing Committee is a group of volunteer tourism leaders who have come together to create initiatives to market the valley as one destination. We are not part of the Radium or the Invermere/Panorama destination marketing organizations who are funded by the 2 per cent hotel room tax, which enables those two groups to market further abroad. Our tourism marketing committee simply meets every Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the Chamber office and brainstorms initiatives that we can undertake that will provide the Columbia Valley with more exposure. Our hope is that in the long run, there will just be one organization that represents all of the valley; however, in the meantime we simply do what we can with what we have to sing the praises of this very special destination.
When pondering the initial question, we agreed as a group that we would garner some information from retailers, accommodators and the Columbia Valley Golf Trail to ask the question, “How was your summer?” It would appear that, for the most part, the summer was good from a tourism standpoint.
The fascinating thing about the tourism industry is that it is constantly changing: we are impacted by so many variables, whether it be weather, economic down turns or up turns, changing demographics of travellers, different geographic sources of travellers and the list goes on. We just have to be nimble and ready to change our offerings to reflect these shifts in visitors. All the accommodators struggled from the June floods, which seemed to impact July, but this resulted in pent-up demand for August and we all saw a very strong August.
This performance was also reflected in the golf course sector where June 2013 business levels were impacted by this year’s flooding. Some retailers are telling us they have had their best summer in many years, which is very encouraging. In looking to the fall, we are working to produce a marketing video highlighting the Whiteway outdoor skating track on Lake Windermere, and we are planning a winter media weekend. With the Rocky Mountain Rally coming in early November, we are excited about the buzz that this event will bring to the Valley and are hopeful to make this an annual event. The media coverage for this event is extensive, particularly in Europe. We are sure that if we can provide them with a great experience they will want to come back year after year.
If any members of the Columbia Valley Chamber would like to participate in our weekly tourism meeting, they are more than welcome. It is very informal, but we are passionate about our business and our valley. If you are interested, please feel free to contact committee chair Amanda Robinson at Copper Point Resort at 250-341-4010.