Is it possible to increase the area’s tourist industry by $1 million by investing less than $4,000?
That’s the essence of the Five-Percent Challenge being issued by the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee and the other groups supporting the Kids-in-Wild-Nature Treasure Hunt.
World renowned artist Robert Bateman has donated an original painting of a bald eagle to be first prize in the treasure hunt. Upper Clearwater artist Doris Laner is contributing the choice of one of her works as second prize.
Organizers would like to leverage the publicity the treasure hunt should generate to increase the local tourist industry by five per cent in 2014.
Travellers already bring in about $22 million per year into the area. A five per cent increase therefore would be about $1 million more.
To make the treasure hunt even more attractive, the organizers want to give the first place winner the choice of the Bateman painting or $3,000 cash. The second place winner would get the choice of a Laner painting or $700 cash. That means the organizers need $3,700 more to back up the prizes.
Tim Pennell, Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Wells Gray Country (Area A) has pledged $500 towards the project.
To raise the rest of the money needed, local businesses will be approached and asked for donations. Those that contribute $100 or more will have their names and/or logos printed in the two treasure hunt clue booklets.
Longtime local resident Jean Nelson will be canvassing the businesses to ask for donations. She is also looking for people to help her with the task.
Businesses and others wishing to donate to the Kids-in-Wild-Nature Treasure Hunt should contact her at 250-674-2327.
Wells Gray Park will be celebrating its 75th birthday this year. What better icing on the cake than a significant increase in one of this area’s major industries?