Tony and Margaret Powsey and granddaughter Iyla pay a visit to Terrace from Vancouver Island. They have wanted to see Terrace ever since they read a book about it 60 years ago. The city’s new community tourism plan will help market the city and the surrounding area to visitors.

Tourism plan in motion to attract more visitors to Terrace

A recent report shows the Nass Valley and fishing are big draws for tourists

Terrace’s new community tourism plan will help Kermodei Tourism Society plan strategic marketing of the city and area to visitors.

“The plan itself is used as a strategic document or plan for us that Kermodei Tourism Society, our mandate is to promote Terrace and draw visitors in,” said Seth Downs, president of the Kermodei Tourism Society board.

Data in the plan shows how much visitors from the other provinces and our own spend when they travel here.

It also shows what attractions the area can capitalize on, some of which are unique to our area or region and are a big draw for visitors, such as fishing and First Nations cultural tourism.

There’s not a lot of developed attractions in First Nations cultures but it certainly provides a competitive advantage to other places, said Downs.

“We have a plan and for us as an organization, it’s an important document that gives us some strategy to move forward with instead of just shooting in to the wind with our budget,” he said.

Since Kermodei Tourism Society is a small non-profit, it doesn’t have the capacity to do research.

The plan provides how to go about eliciting additional revenue from tourists and the limitations for current funding, added Downs.

That includes the municipal and hotel room tax which the area had but doesn’t have anymore.

It was useful for marketing and the society needs to convince the hotel industry that it’s needed again, he said.

The 2 per cent tax was charged to visitors of hotels in the area and used by tourism groups to market the area. Kermodei Tourism estimated $120,000 in revenue from the hotel tax in its 2010 budget.

In total, Kermodei Tourism received nearly $500,000 from the 2 per cent tax from 2004 to 2009.

So far this year, we’ve seen a slight increase in tourists as measured by how many have come to the tourist information centre, said Downs.

The increase shows a big rise in U.S. tourists and definitely could be partly because of the Canadian dollar being cheaper compared to the U.S. dollar, he added.

“I think people are looking for a rugged experience and think Destination BC’s new branding of the province as Wild BC promotes that,” said Downs.

Destination BC is the new name for what was previously named Tourism BC.

Also the industrial workers who came here as camp workers would stay here on their weeks off and bring their families up here, he added.

And the Nass Valley is one of the biggest things that tourists coming into the information centre ask about.

“Visitors want to go up to the Nass and see the lava beds and also learn about Nisga’a culture,” said Downs.

Countries with strong economies also help bring tourists here and as third world countries grow their economies and their people have more money to spend, their residents start to travel, added Downs.

And he believes that increased numbers of visitors here will continue.

The City of Terrace announced that the new Community Tourism Plan was complete in a July 7 news release.

The plan includes six goals, including increasing the average length of a stay for visitors and generating employment and career opportunities.