It’s good news for Kitimat’s tourism sector, according to Kitimat Chamber of Commerce executive director Trish Parsons.
Part of what’s fueling this year’s growth is new interest in town thanks to industrial proposals.
“Our numbers are definitely up this year,” said Parsons. “A good part of it is just the interest in the area because of the Enbridge pipeline.”
A number of people have come visiting Kitimat either because they have chosen to travel the route of the pipeline to its terminus, or people who are aware of Kitimat now through increased media exposure and decide to stop in if they’re already nearby, such as in Terrace.
Kitimat’s rise in tourist interest jives with Northern B.C. as a whole, although the numbers aren’t yet in to back up the observed growth in visitors this season.
Jillian Fisher, with Northern BC Tourism’s Prince Rupert office, was in Kitimat last week and said that just based on what people such as hotel operators are saying, it sounds like one of the region’s busiest summers.
The Northern BC Tourism region encompasses Haida Gwaii to east of Prince George, and Stewart and Cassiar. It is one of six tourism regions in B.C. and encompasses over half of the province geographically.
Fisher said that Northern B.C. is a “long haul” destination and that the tourists from out of area, notably people from European countries such as Germany, are from areas with relatively less economic unease. As well the nature of long haul vacations means that people will typically follow through with going on their trips.
However it’s not just out of country tourists that Northern BC Tourism is after.
“The biggest market for B.C. is B.C.,” she said. That’s why they have joined with many tourism operators and communities to put together joint marketing campaigns.
So all in all, “It’s been a pretty good year for tourism,” said Fisher.
And, added Parsons, the fishing was good in Kitimat, which is a definite bonus to get people to town.
Tourism is the top topic right now at the Visitor Information Centre in Kitimat as Parsons and Rosemary Brady will be joining tourism proponents from all over the region at Northern BC Tourism’s annual general meeting in Prince George at the end of the month.
The AGM will see several guest speakers, including Pat Bell, B.C.’s minister of jobes, tourism and innovation.
More information on the AGM is available online at www.nbctagm.com.