Big changes for Society to boost tourism

The Cowichan Valley has a “huge potential” for a dynamic and growing tourism industry

  • Feb. 24, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Robert Barron Citizen

The Cowichan Valley has a “huge potential” for a dynamic and growing tourism industry, Janet Docherty told Duncan’s city council Monday, Feb. 15.

But Docherty, chairperson of the Cowichan Tourism Society, said much of that tourism potential is currently “just passing us by.”

She said there are some big changes coming to the society that are intended, in part, to help consolidate the many tourism initiatives that are being carried out separately by various agencies in the valley.

Docherty said the CTS has been successful in acquiring a $138,000 grant from Destination BC that should be in hand by April.

She said one of the first things the society will do with the new funding is to change its governance model.

That includes increasing the number of directors on its board from seven to 13, as well as establishing committees for governance, finances and marketing.

“We need expert help to achieve our goals, so we’ll be hiring a co-ordinator as well,” Docherty said.

“We’ll be refreshing our brand and investing more money into a number of areas, including digital marketing, more advertising at events and festivals and more signage and research.”

Docherty said the society will also begin focusing on having all tourist agencies in the region “pool our scarce resources” in ongoing efforts to increase tourism in Cowichan.

She said the society wants to focus local initiatives on attracting more tourists from the Lower Mainland, Alberta and Washington state.

“We need to all work together to create one brand for all the five regions in the valley,”Docherty said.

“We’ll soon be holding stakeholder meetings in the valley to gather input and ideas.”

Docherty said while the funding from Destination BC must be leveraged with funding from local agencies and stakeholders, she wasn’t asking the City of Duncan for any funding at this time.

“What we’re requesting is that the city let us know what they are doing to attract more tourists here, and engage with us as we move forward with this process.”