A bright future lies ahead

AdvantageHOPE hosts its annual AGM at The Hope Golf Course

AdvantageHOPE Chair Kent McKinnon discusses economic development during last Wednesday's AGM at the Hope Golf Course.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for AdvantageHOPE met with accolades last Wednesday at the Hope Golf Course, as attendees enjoyed an opening reception complete with refreshments. The evening commenced with a speech from Mayor Wilfried Vicktor, AdvantageHOPE Chair Kent McKinnon and guest speaker Marsha Walden — President and CEO of Destination BC.

“The best way to catch an elephant is to draw it to you with a net,” said McKinnon of potential investors to Hope, as he discussed some of the organization’s methods to establish fresh assets, while maximizing existing ones, in their current economic development plan.

Walden brought up the importance of fighting for a piece of the pie when it comes to B.C.’s tourism sector, reminding locals that it’s up for grabs by foreign investors, and therefore important to recognize the opportunities that exist in Hope’s unique and extraordinary location.

“Tourism has been identified as an economic strength in British Columbia. There were eight sector sets identified with tourism being key — over the past decade our tourism industry has demonstrated very strong and consistent growth,” said Walden.

She also encouraged residents to think about the way tourism affects daily living such as having access to museums, galleries, festivals, and a myriad of other benefits associated with living in British Columbia, and specifically the District of Hope.

According to 2014 stats, 14.6 billion in revenue was generated from tourism alone.

“We are in a great position at the moment and prospects look amazing,” she said.

Presentations from AdvantageHOPE members including Executive Director Tammy Shields, Helen Kennedy and Stephanie Hooker, followed Walden’s speech, as volunteers were thanked for countless hours and participation in various AdvantageHOPE campaigns.

Projects such as the completion of the monumental and historic Bike Park in 2015, the undertaking of The Station House Project, as well as  the successful and highly anticipated arrival of the 2016 Official Visitor Guide were mentioned.

Promotional films were shown during the event, highlighting some of the natural beauty and historic gems, found in the region and showcasing the prolific nature of the tourism sector in Hope. AdvantageHOPE’s Brand Book, as well as a flash drive complete with the 2015 Annual Report, the Economic Development Strategy from 2016-2021, and the Economic Development Work Plan for 2016 were distributed to guests.

According to the Brand Book, the essence or “big idea” acts as a simple, memorable truth at the core of the brand and it acts as the glue that binds the brand platform together. The message is then injected into the imagery and graphic elements of the brand.

For Hope, the big idea presented throughout the evening, was the idea of being connected. The mantra as outlined in the Brand Book goes like this. “Being Connected: To nature. To community. To self.” These principles are meant to be a powerful statement that outlines the elements that make Hope exceptional for residents and visitors alike. The Book begins with a quote:

“The best investment a community can make in itself is to look inward and identify the essence of what makes it a unique, compelling, and amazing place to be.”

The comprehensive branding formula that will continue to be implemented by AdvantageHOPE was conceived by The District of Hope, the Chamber of Commerce, and the organization itself, who funded the initial phases of branding. This originally included creating a visual identity within the community and enhancing engagement and awareness of the brand and its plans to boost tourism in Hope.

AdvantageHOPE is now primarily responsible for upholding the brand it has created and maintaining stewardship over the established brand elements, such as photography, and the assertion of the marketing strategy outlined in the presentations and accompanying materials presented during the AGM.

For more information on all new initiatives, literature and documentation, please check out The AdvantageHOPE Facebook page. Promotional materials are also available at the Visitor Centre.