The five-day tour highlights all four villages of the Nisga’a Nation, including a boat ride in Gingolx. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Nisga’a Nation tourism board hits the road

Pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

The Nisga’a Nation tourism board will be holding their first pilot tour in the Nass Valley this summer.

The tour from July 12 to 16 is part of a multi-year plan to encourage and grow tourism into the area, with an intention to create more jobs and infrastructure.

“The idea is to make Nisga’a Nation have their own destination brand,” says Bertram Mercer, manager of economic development of the Nisga’a Lisims Government.

The five-day tour highlights all four villages of the Nisga’a Nation, with visits to local restaurants, stays at lodges and cultural activities. Along the way are several stops at scenic nature sites such as the hot springs, the lava beds, waterfalls and lakes.

Approximately eight people, made up of tourism representatives and “influencers”, will be joining in the tour to test the fluidity of the itinerary and provide feedback on how “tourism ready” each location is, and how it can be improved. The tour will also be featured on Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism Canada and through different tour operators.

READ MORE: Nisga’a celebrate 19 years of self-government in B.C. legislature

Dana Schoahs, director of marketing at Indigenous Tourism BC, says she sees great potential for the Nisga’a Nation and what it has to offer, especially given the vast landscape and uniqueness of the Nass Valley.

“[The goal is to] work with industry partners because they will be our influencers and they will also be the ones that kind of sell it,” she says. “It needs to be market ready [with] scheduled departures, the place has to be reliable and stuff like that…it’s really to understand where are we at with the destination? What needs to be happening? And where do we have to work with the individual businesses to get them to the next stage? It’s ironing out all the kinks.”

Scoahs says they’ve recognized an increase in expressed interest in Indigenous tourism in the province and nation-wide as more people are wanting to have more cultural experiences they can’t find in bigger cities.

“They really [like to] experience a destination, not just like come in and come out,” says Schoahs. “One in three visitors to Canada are looking for an Indigenous tourism experience.”

Scoahs will help launch the Nisga’a tourism brand to entice a tourism appeal. Prior to this contract, Scoahs was a part in establishing Haida Gwaii’s Indigenous tourism and sees a lot of comparable factors. She says their aim is to convince people booking their next trip to Canada, specifically from countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia, to include the Nass Valley on their to-do list.

“[This would be] really showcasing their culture, bringing that to the forefront and marrying it with the beautiful landscape for people to get an appreciation [of it all],” she says.

READ MORE: Hobiyee 2019: Feeding a thousand people in Ging̱olx

Driving through the Nass Valley, signs indicating points of interest along the Nisga’a Highway are part of the “Auto Tour Route”. These spots are designated tourist stops to be included in the itinerary, which would also eventually cater to tour buses in a few years. At the moment, these pull-offs are for self-guided and smaller vehicle tours.

“When someone comes in on the buses, we can bring them out to places to look at the sites and have an ambassador there to explain the significance,” Mercer says.

BC Parks has also been working with the Nisga’a tourism board to build more tourist-required facilities like rest stop washrooms, trail maintenance and a visitors centre.

Mercer adds their vision of a tourism industry has already sparked a few entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses. Members are able to enroll in business workshops and certification programs to help develop important skills that could benefit tourism in the area.



natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

Most Read