Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tourism Prince Rupert readies new tourism plan for the future

Tourism plays a large role in the seasonal employment scene of the North coast, with summer the peak season for visitors to the North coast. Having struggled over the last few years with a number of setbacks from BC Ferry issues to flooded highways, the numbers have been slowly climbing back over the last few years.

With tourism such a key part of the local scene, Tourism Prince Rupert was preparing last week to host a public session outlining the details of recently compiled report into the state of the industry on the North Coast.

The Daily News provided a preview of the report as the front page story in the August 20 edition.

Presentation at Chances will outline the report’s findings on tourism in Prince Rupert
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Page one

Tourism Prince Rupert is set to announce a new tourism strategy plan next week.

As part of the provincially funded tourism strategy Community Tourism Foundation. Tourism B. C. is guiding community tourism boards around B. C. to come up with a region-specific plan to help boost visits to their cities. “I don’t mind saying the research alone is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bruce Wishart said, Executive Director for Tourism Prince Rupert.

According to Wishart, Prince Rupert was one of the first communities to apply for the program when they applied in March 2006.

Tourism BC sent Linda Lee of Strategex Consulting Group, a Howe St. consulting and management firm, up to the North Coast to measure the city’s tourism needs and to speak with tourism stakeholders. According to Wishart, when Lee finalized her initial research she found what they needed then was not the CTF,

“Lee went away with the resolution that what we really needed was consumer research. Tourism B. C. spent 2007 researching our needs and came up with a massive 700-page document on tourism,” Wishart said.

A team of researchers spent several days in Rupert scouting high traffic tourist spots, finding out how much money tourists were spending, how many days they spent here and who they were as tourists.

They followed that research and made random phone calls to people around the province to ask what their impression was of Prince Rupert.

Wishart was really impressed with Strategex’s work.

“They are one of the province’s best – I consider them top drawer,” Wishart said.

Once the research was done, the a group of 20 of the city’s top layers in tourism got together to come up with a model they could use to promote tourism business between Cow Bay and the Port of Prince Rupert and spots beyond.

“We came up with an industry-drive situation analysis gradually developing a five-year tourism plan with measurable statistics and creating some of the real basis of marketing going forward,” Wishart said.

A presentation will be held at Chances Gambling Centre’s lower level on August 26 at 6 p. m. to lay out what this plan is.

Lee, along with Caterina Papadakos and Jill Greenwood of Tourism B. C. will be on hand to present their findings.

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