The expert team that in recent years developed a bold new tourism brand and website for the Similkameen Valley will once again team up with Black Press to produce a compelling and informative guidebook that will attract visitors and help them enjoy the area’s many travel destinations.
The Similkameen Valley Planning Society (SVPS) and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) announced today they will partner with Black Press, publisher of the Keremeos Review and Similkameen Spotlight newspapers, to produce the 2015 Similkameen Valley Travel Experiences Guide.
These groups partnered for the first time a year ago to create the Valley’s 2014 Travel Experiences Guide, which was one of a number of new resources produced as part of a major three-year project that developed a tourism brand, website and a range of marketing materials. The overall partnership project between SVPS and TOTA was a pilot project case study in which professionals in writing, photography and website design produced a brand and materials which aligned with the new 10-year Thompson Okanagan Regional Tourism Strategy and the Canadian Tourism Commission’s research-based ‘Explorer Quotient’ (EQ) approach to the development of travel marketing materials. The goal was to develop and carry out best practices in tourism marketing.
TOTA Community Development Specialist Simone Carlysle-Smith, leader of the pilot, says that project was a great success and helped to develop a highly qualified team of content producers who have gone on to create branding and marketing materials aligned with the Regional Strategy and EQ for a number of other areas throughout the Thompson Okanagan.
Now, she notes, that team and Black Press will once again work with SVPS and people throughout the Similkameen Valley to produce the 2015 Travel Experiences Guide.
“We’re delighted to build on our past experience and success to create an even better Guide for next year,” Carlysle-Smith says. “We and Black Press will carry out an evaluation of the effectiveness of the 2014 materials, and will invite input and new information from stakeholders in the Similkameen Valley. Much of the 2014 Guide’s content will be refreshed and some new content will be developed.”
The multi-year tourism development partnership between SVPS and TOTA began more than three years ago with initial planning funded by Destination BC. A tourism plan was completed by April 2012 and a new Similkameen Valley tourism brand – “Rugged. Rustic. Real.” – along with the website and initial materials were unveiled in April 2013. The materials included the attractive new Similkameen Valley Travel Experiences Guide, which features active imagery and text showcasing the travel experiences available throughout the Valley. Its content aligns with the new tourism website similkameenvalley.com and includes a map, events listing, and Top 10 things to do, including: Bromley Rock, Cathedral Lakes, China Ridge, fishing, floating, guided tours, hiking, Manning Park, orchards & wineries, heritage, and the Similkameen River.
The 2014 resources also included colourful handout visitor maps of the area and its largest communities, with listings of events and Top 10 visitor experiences. Other Similkameen Valley tourism promotion activities and materials undertaken in recent months include increased use of social media, purchased ads and billboards.
Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer, SVPS Chair, says, “We are pleased to continue to work with Black Press to produce next year’s Travel Experiences Guide. Working in partnership with local governments in the Similkameen Valley, Destination BC, TOTA, Black Press and our business community has enabled us to achieve major strides in tourism marketing – and the 2015 Guide will be another great step forward.”
Joan McMurray, Chair of the Tourism Advisory Committee of SVPS, adds, “The development of all of our new materials and the success of our project really show how powerful partnerships can be. There is no doubt that our stakeholders have benefited from working with SVPS, TOTA, local governments, First Nations, Black Press, Destination BC, and residents throughout the Valley. I’m looking forward to partner with Black Press again this year on an even better Travel Experiences Guide that will promote our beautiful Valley to a growing number of visitors.”
Carlysle-Smith, Project Lead, says she thanks all continuing members of the Similkameen Valley tourism branding project team, including: Manfred Bauer, SVPS Chair; Joan McMurray, SVPS TAC Chair; Roger Handling, Creative Director; Kim Cameron, Writer; and Darren Robinson, EQ Photographer.