Tourism showing exceptional growth

Our area has a much higher percentage of western Europeans entering our area for travel purposes than do Canada or B.C.

Tay Briggs speaks during a recent forestry tour.

Last year, Wells Gray Infocentre had the most visitors of any infocentre in the province. This year, the count for May was up 22 per cent over the previous May, with more than 9,000 people visiting.

We asked Tay Briggs, director with Information Wells Gray (the consortium of local tourism businesses that operates the Infocentre) to comment. Here is her reply:

Tay Briggs

There are certainly many factors that are contributing to the steady rise in tourism here. Many places in B.C. are experiencing increased tourist numbers – and that is a separate topic. The growth in our area, however is out of proportion to the rest of the province.

The first thing to note is that our area has a much higher percentage of western Europeans entering our area for travel purposes than do Canada or B.C.

One of the reasons for this is, to be honest, is very persistent and incisive marketing over the years by certain tourism operators. Mike and Regina Mueller of Upper Clearwater were at the cusp of this almost 30 years ago now. They recognized that our product would resonate with many Europeans who had a fascination of the wilds of North America.

But you do have to have the product! Tourism is like any other business – there are many different products. Some people travel for golf and wine, some people travel for beautiful cities, some for cute mountain towns.

There are some people however, and the number seems to be growing, that want the experience of being in a place that seems unaffected by both man and time.

Because we are lucky enough to live here, we do not realize how rare this opportunity is in many parts of the world. Experiencing what they feel is a true wilderness is what is important to the people who are coming, and to many, Wells Gray Park is that place.

We get thousands of visitors a year into the information centre that say the feeling of wilderness they got here really was “the Canada they imagined.”

I think it is also fair to say that over the years the information centre has helped generate more tourism activity and numbers in the town. The centre is an attractive building which has a great location. The updated displays, free wifi (thanks to the wonderful service of the great folks at Mercuryspeed), coffee, kids’ play areas, clean bathrooms, local arts and crafts and most of all, great service. The centre is a natural draw.

The facility has been written up in many guidebooks as a “must stop,” giving the very friendly staff there a chance to convince people to stay longer, even if it is just to see one waterfall.

Many times people return to the centre in later years having planned a longer trip. Just yesterday I was in the centre and a young man came in and said the first time he was there was when he was hitchhiking with his wife and was treated so kindly they had to come back – in a car with friends to stay longer.

There are people who come in that are so grateful for the help, whether it is finding the perfect activity, or a place to stay, that they tell travel agents and friends and the word spreads.

Many things will effect tourism in our future. Having a strong destination marketing organization like Tourism Wells Gray that works with larger organizations such as Destination BC is very important.

 

That is not as important, however, as looking after the product that people have come to see. Acknowledging the importance of our viewscapes, building and maintaining trails, and maintaining a connection from the entry of the park to the town will be vital for the continued success of the tourism industry in Clearwater.

 

 

Just Posted

Editor, The Times:

District of Clearwater invites local organizations to participate in Hockey Days

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

The wondrous benefits of canine therapy

Molly the dog has undergone extensive training so she can bring joy and healing to those she visits

Clearwater RCMP calls see slight decrease

Calls to the RCMP last year came in at 1,931 with 2017’s total calls for service coming in at 1,980

Clearwater band donates album proceeds to charity

Cal’s Cool Cats record first CD A Backward Glance

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Most Read