Islanders elected to regional tourism group

  • Oct. 10, 2011 7:00 p.m.

Experiential tourism was the buzz-word at the recent annual general meeting for the Northern BC Tourism Association, held in Prince George. One Haida Gwaii director stepped down and another was re-elected during the Oct. 3-4 event. Two term director Andrew Merilees decided not to run for re-election. Nathalie Fournier of Gwaii Haanas won her third-term as a director at large. Ms Fournier said speakers discussed the difference between a traveller and tourist. What do each look for? Travellers are looking for experiences. “It’s not just about having infrastructure like trails and signs,” she said. Dr. Nancy Arsensault also presented a case study of a small rural community that went from relying on a single slowly dying industry to one that invited the world to a ten-day festival every year. Ms Fournier said the story of this community resonated with her. “I got excited for us. We share the same situation and we’re needing to think outside the box.” She noted that islanders have to work collaboratively to be successful. Other items noted at the meeting included the development of a new app that will make information about communities accessible to those on the road with hand held devices. Ms Fournier said the app includes augmented reality technology, so when a device is pointed at the Visitor Information Centre, for example, information about all the nearby services and activities pop up as well. She said the Queen Charlotte Visitor Information Centre got a shout out at the meeting as it was recognized as one of the best VICs ever on a visitor satisfaction survey. The customer was very impressed with the artwork and the experience of all the other surroundings. QC VIC manager Shawna McLeod also attended the meeting. She also ran for a director at large position, but did not win. The other director elected was Nancy Treiber of Hudson Bay Mountain Adventures in Smithers.

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