AdvantageHope broadens its focus

Economic development in Hope will be focused on enhancing tourism

AdvantageHOPE executive director Tammy Shields provides an update on the new vision and direction of the organization at an open house last Wednesday night at the Hope Golf Club.

AdvantageHOPE has expanded the scope of its operations under the leadership of a new team of part-time contractors.

The group includes executive director Tammy Shields, Ali Harwood (marketing and branding), Rudy Kehler (communications), Riley Forman (tourism services), Michelle Richardson (events and attraction) and Stephanie Hooker (asset management). AdvantageHOPE has determined that the path to economic development is through tourism.

“We want to cast for those large employers and those big resource jobs, but a lot of that is simply out of our control,” said Shields during a presentation last Wednesday at the Hope Golf Club. “Looking at what we’ve got, it really seemed clear that our best path to economic development is to really focus on tourism development. Anybody that comes to Hope is going to be coming to Hope as a visitor first. When they’re here, we have to, as a community, deliver a really great experience.”

AdvantageHOPE plans to broaden its reach through social media and a single web portal at www.hopebc.ca, in conjunction with the operation of Hope Visitor Centre. The goal is to provide consistent delivery of brand messaging and more personal interaction with visitors on the street. In addition to attracting people to town, AdvantageHOPE is also focused on becoming one of B.C.’s official resort municipalities, which will help establish the community’s reputation and provide access to additional government funding opportunities.

Shields believes AdvantageHOPE is now better poised for success by being results/goal orientated.

“We really see this as an opportunity for positive change,” she said. “There’s research to support the idea that incremental growth in economic development is really more impactful if a municipality is trying to stimulate growth in its community. The details might be a little bit fuzzy sometimes, but if we can clearly see the next step we need to take then that’s something we should do.”

The current focus of AdvantageHOPE builds on the Economic Development Plan created in 2009 and the work of former executive director Tyler Mattheis over the last couple years. Shields said a lot of progress has been made to position AdvantageHOPE where it is today. She pointed out that some of the successes include the trailhead kiosk program, electric vehicle charging stations, branding initiative, district revitalization tax exemption program, and Flood-Hope servicing. The organization also been involved with investor tool/resource development and raising the profile of the community through participation in publications, trade shows and meetings.

For more information on AdvantageHOPE, visit www.hope.ca/advantagehope

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