Advantage Hope is in the process of developing an advisory committee to further develop the local tourism industry.
The goal is to have a nine-member board in place by mid-October that will implement a number of initiatives outlined in the district’s tourism plan. Among the priorities is infrastructure, beautification programs, and product development, marketing and promotion.
“All of this requires people to work together,” said Advantage Hope president Tyler Mattheis. “We all have to buy into some tasks together. Then we can take advice from each other and the objectives of the plan can move forward through collaboration.”
While outdoor adventure is a large component of the local tourism industry, visitor centre manager Inge Wilson said promoting Hope’s history and heritage is another important aspect. She points out that tourism is a vital part of the economy that has potential for growth.
“Ultimately, if you can get people to stay overnight there’s a bigger economic payoff to the community,” she said. “So many people think of Hope as a place to pass through. We have to change their thinking into making us a destination and making this an area they come to on purpose, rather than stumbling across it on their way to somewhere else.”
Advantage Hope is currently looking for businesses to help support the construction of new kiosks for the Hope Lookout and Rotary Trail. Sponsorship will supply half of the funding necessary for the kiosks, with the other half being provided by the province through a Community Tourism Opportunities program. Hope was given a $9,300 grant this year which needs to be spent by the end of December.
Mattheis said the kiosks will profile both community and regional trails, and look similar to the public bus shelter at Memorial Park.
Local businesses will be involved in the design, construction, and ongoing maintenance of the structures, which will be incorporated into the district’s park plan to ensure long-term sustainability. Future kiosks on other popular trails and sites will be planned next year, as funding allows.
Over the long term, Mattheis said the annual advertising revenue will be collected by the Hope Mountain Centre to be used for continuous maintenance on these trails.
Another initiative in the works is a banner program along Water Avenue, Wallace Street, Sixth Avenue and Old Hope Princeton Highway. There is already hardware in place for about 120 banners.
“The banners are not cheap, but you want to spend a little bit on the quality so you can get at least two seasons out of them,” said Wilson. “The idea when banners were started was to create some visual continuity along these thoroughfares to help draw visitors. It’s also to enhance and beautify the community.”
For more information on the plan, contact Advantage Hope at 604-860-0930.