The second industry day for the Similkameen Valley Tourism Advisory Council took place at the Grist Mill on April 16.
The event was also the stage for the unveiling of the 2014 Similkameen Valley Travel Experiences Guide, geared this year to act as a companion piece to the tourism council’s official website.
Industry Day at the Grist Mill also featured an afternoon of workshops designed to assist Similkameen business owners with their tourism marketing. Approximately 40 stakeholders took part in the afternoon sessions.
SVPS Chair Manfred Bauer expressed thanks to all those contributing to this year’s effort, which he said marked a milestone in the Similkameen’s regional tourism strategy. Thematic amongst those speaking during the tourist guide unveiling was the achievements accomplished by working collaboratively.
“The valley is blossoming because people are working together,” said Similkameen Valley Wine Association chair George Hanson.
“People working together is a really important thing. We can’t do a lot of stuff by ourselves,” he said. “Let’s keep doing it together.”
TOTA Community Development Specialist Simone Carlysle-Smith said Similkameen businesses now had a complete suite of tools to promote their tourism brand.
The experience guide complements a refined and updated website, along with regional and community pad maps and a social media campaign. Smith also noted the benefits of “leveraged funding.” Core funding for the TAC tourism initiative came from Destination BC community tourism programs. Additional leveraging was obtained through an agreement with Black Press (owners of the Review and the Similkameen Spotlight) to produce the travel experiences guide. She described future funding through this program as “a challenge” due to a core review of provincial programs.
“We should know by June,” she said regarding funding for 2015.
The official unveiling of the travel experiences guide took place in front of approximately 50 stakeholders and local and regional politicians.
“Our stakeholders have benefitted from working with SVPS, TOTA, local governments, First Nations, Black Press, Destination BC, and residents throughout the valley. We’re now more ready than ever to promote our wonderful tourism destinations,” said SVPS – TAC Chair Joan McMurray.