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Hope has 11th busiest Visitor Centre in British Columbia

Hope Visitor Centre and Museum Complex manager Helen Kennedy. - X. Y. Zeng
Hope Visitor Centre and Museum Complex manager Helen Kennedy.
— image credit: X. Y. Zeng

Hope Visitor Centre and Museum Complex manager Helen Kennedy highlighted their achievements at the March 21 AdvantageHOPE annual general meeting.

Kennedy highlighted the partnerships the Visitor Centre and Museum has and also showed their achievements in 2016 through statistics. A partnership they have been working on is the Hope Secondary School Museum Project.

“The HSS museum project is a cross-institutional partnership that's really at the forefront of the new B.C. secondary school curriculum,” said Kennedy, adding that this collaboration helps students use their skills in history to contribute to a community project with practical applications.

It started in 2015 with a History 12 class, installing six exhibits last June. Kennedy said over 2,000 people have seen those and have given positive feedback.

This year, the History 12 will start a new project about the Hudson's Bay Company 1849 Trail and the role that helped in establishing an European settlement in Hope.

A section of that trail has seen rehabilitation. The 74-kilometre section starts east of Hope and ends in Tulameen.

Kennedy also talked about her pilot mobile visitor services through Destination BC's innovation fund. Sited in Hunter Creek Rest Area, Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park and Memorial Park, those roaming visitor centres saw 10,923 visits. The Visitor Centre itself saw 47,530 visitors.

They estimated that they would only get 500 additional visitors per week, but got 910 additional visitors per week. Kennedy said they received this funding again this year and will “expand it a little bit.”

Kennedy said they connected with 191 buses, with an average 40 persons per bus, and emphasized that buses are important in Hope.

Visitors asked about the Othello Tunnels the most — with 4,497 groups asking about it. Then came Rambo, with 2,604 groups. An average group has 2.3 persons.

Kennedy added that Hope's Visitor Centre has seen an increase in traffic comparing 2015 to 2016. They saw a 19 per cent increase in visitors, as compared to a 0.6 per cent throughout B.C.

Of the 99 visitor centres in B.C., Hope Visitor Centre ranked 11th busiest, Kennedy said, meaning they beat places such as Harrison Hot Springs and Chilliwack. The ones ahead of Hope's are Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, Victoria, Revelstoke, Merritt and Golden.

“If you don't find those numbers impressive, I'm not really sure what else I can tell you,” said Kennedy.

This year, tourism highlights include the International Chainsaw Carving Competition and on Oct. 7, they will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Rambo’s First Blood.

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