Tourism association, chamber asking questions

  • Oct. 16, 2006 7:00 p.m.

How much money did businesses lose due to the sinking of the Queen of the North? This will be the focus of a questionnaire the Haida Gwaii Tourism Association and the Queen Charlotte Islands Chamber of Commerce are developing.
The survey should be distributed in the next few weeks, says HGTA president Andrew Merilees. He hopes all businesses will respond, not just tourism operators, as lack of tourists affect more than those who cater to them. Restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations are affected too.
Mr. Merilees also gave the Observer an update on what is happening with the 100,000 brochures to promote the islands being paid for by the province after the sinking of Queen of the North.
The Northern Fund comprised of $450,000, which was to be spread across the impacted areas. The lion’s share of the money went to the Great Northern Salmon Classic, a fishing derby based in Prince Rupert.
Mr. Merilees says islanders raised concerns when they found out the brochure was to promote both Prince Rupert and the islands. “They didn’t want a joint one,” said Mr. Merilees. So the first draft of the brochure was tossed out and a new one is in the works.
He said the original plan for direct mail to Alaska has been modified too. The piece will be not be mailed, but will be available in visitor outlets across BC, Alberta and Alaska. The aim is to print 100,000.
The Observer also called the Prince George Visitor Information Centre to find out how effective the summer had been with two staff aboard who had traveled the Highway 16 corridor. Michelle Royston, who was the regional coordinator of the Northern Fund Management Committee, said the workers were able to talk knowledgably to a number of travellers, but the centre did not track how many were re-directed or encouraged to travel to Haida Gwaii.
Mr. Merilees says more information on the outcomes of the northern fund will be available after the Northern BC Tourism Association AGM on October 26 to 28 in Terrace.