The current Visitor Information Centre is in a convenient location but the infrastructure is failing after many years. A new building is on the horizon and should be located in the same lot.

The current Visitor Information Centre is in a convenient location but the infrastructure is failing after many years. A new building is on the horizon and should be located in the same lot.

Visitor report shows tourism on the rise

Many successes for both the VIC and Chamber of Commerce were highlighted at Monday’s council meeting.

Chris Stedile

 

Castlegar News

Tourism is booming in Castlegar. This according to a presentation delivered by the Chamber of Commerce’s Tammy Verigin-Burk and Anne Kaytor to city council monday.

The presentation highlighted the performance of the Castlegar visitor information centre through 2014.

Numbers were up across the board, barring the Doukhobor Discovery Centre and food/beverage queries, which saw a slight decline from 2013.

Most notable was the rise in inquiries for transportation and outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.

Transportation saw an increase from 4,131 to 4,796 people and outdoors rose from 3,584 to 4,324.

“So many more people are exploring our area and it’s becoming so popular … It’s just endless opportunity,” said tourism supervisor Anne Kaytor.

Verigin-Burk, the Chamber’s executive director, reminded those in attendance that the numbers are only for those who entered the visitor centre with specific inquiries and the total number of tourists is likely more significant.

It’s not just direct tourism that the visitor centre assists with. 2014 was the second year it hosted counsellor training for visitor centres in the surrounding area.

“This is a very packed two day course,” Kaytor said. “It has map reading, exceeding customer service and problem solving. As you can imagine, people come in off the road and experience some difficulties getting lost.”

The course also covers sales and marketing and ways to keep people in the area after they visit.

Kaytor noted the course in Castlegar is becoming the hub for neighbouring areas to train their visitor centre counsellors. Four students from Nelson attended, along with two from each of Rossland, Trail and Castlegar.

“I’m happy to say everyone passed very well.”

Furthermore, the visitor centre was lucky enough to have two foreign students take part in what they do and assist those visiting Castlegar.

“We were approached by the Selkirk College for their international students to join us at the visitor centre,” Kaytor explained.

Centre staff accepted and two students, one from Japan and one from South Korea, worked a total of 16 hours alongside visitor centre staff to get a feel for the community and enhance their international experience.

Not entirely related to the visitor centre but related to tourism, Verigin-Burk showcased highlights of the year for the Chamber of Commerce.

Among them was Castlegar’s recognition on the Expedia travel site and having a hotel tax come to fruition.

“It actually started January 1 and we’ll see the benefits from that  this year,” Burk said.

“For those who aren’t aware of it, it’s a two per cent tax that will be used to promote Castlegar, whether it’s tourists or people who come to stay for business or different events.”

In regards to the Expedia representation, Verigin-Burk explained the Chamber worked extensively, with the city and Expedia to bring someone in to promote Castlegar.

“We were quite thrilled to find out that in of all of BC only six communities were represented and we were up against some big cities,” she said.

The promotion is planned to be up for three years but the Chamber hopes to extend that when the time comes.

Through 2015 the visitor centre and Chamber of Commerce plan to keep growing Castlegar’s tourism secand are also looking for a new Chamber/visitor building, hopefully on the same lot.

The current building has foundation issues, leading to other problems including the degradation of their wheelchair ramp.

Verigin-Burk said they hope to gather some funds from grants and then engage in fundraising of their own.

 

The projected time frame for this to become reality is sometime in 2016.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 8 is asking the education ministry to stop making the Foundation Skills Assessment data public. File photo
Kootenay Lake School District requests education ministry make annual student assessments private

The district is concerned the data is being misused by the Fraser Institute

Castlegar City Council at a pre-COVID meeting. File photo
Castlegar city council issues message to the community

“It’s more important than ever to come together and … ensure Castlegar is a great place to live.”

Zoey Uniat is now three months old. Photo: Submitted
Castlegar baby with rare disorder progressing towards coming home

Fundraiser for Zoey Uniat has raised more than $50,000

Pioneer Arena is closing for the season. Photo: John Boivin
Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season

RDCK is closing the ice at two of its arenas due to financial concerns related to COVID-19

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined 2nd time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

(Photo submitted)
RCMP say ice climber seriously injured after reportedly falling 12 metres near Abraham Lake

Police say man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening

Most Read