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.

 

 

Just Posted

Castlegar Remembers

Hundreds gathered at Kinsmen Park on Sunday to mark the Centenary of the end of WW1

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nine-vehicle pileup closes Highway 3 near Castlegar

Two separate incidents on slushy highway; reports of injuries

UPDATE: Police seek witnesses in Castlegar road rampage

Lake Country man faces 13 charges, including robbery, dangerous driving, flight from police, assault with a weapon, theft, and drug charges.

U.S.-based tech company planning Rossland location

GoToTags will use city as base to service Canadian customers

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Most Read