It’s no surprise that when the pandemic hit, one of the industries most affected was also one of the province’s biggest: tourism.
But thanks to initiatives launched by the tourism industry, innovations are also letting businesses like Woodlands Fishin’ Resort on Puntzi Lake just off Highway 20, emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.
Woodlands owner Colleen Peters, used the time and Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Resiliency Program’s one-on-one support and resources, to increase her online presence, including building a website, creating a new booking system, an online store, and managing social media and online marketing. The result allowed her business to maintain a vital virtual presence when everything shut down.
“All of these things combined have made a big impact on how I now run my business and everybody’s been great!” she says.
Working together to go beyond recovery
Thanks to help from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Resiliency Program, tourism-based operators like Peters are turning what might have become a disaster, into an opportunity to expand and grow. The Tourism Resiliency Program focuses on supporting tourism businesses through providing meaningful one-on-one support to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while adapting and working towards building long-term resiliency. Working together across the province, the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat is leading the BC Tourism Resiliency Network. Together, the program has helped more than 1,900 tourism businesses across the province with generous support from Western Diversification Trust and the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association is a non-profit, stakeholder-based Regional Destination Management Organization that leads tourism in development and marketing in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Destination British Columbia, Destination Canada and industry partners in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region to help foster responsible growth of tourism to empower a resilient visitor economy. Under this umbrella, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism leads development, sustainability, and consumer marketing. The organization provides leadership and stewardship for tourism, supply and demand for an industry that puts businesses first with the tourism industry, residents, and communities at the heart of all efforts.
Better than before
At Woodlands Fishin’ Resort, shifting their marketing focus from Europe to British Columbia attracted more local travellers – a move that’s proven to be a highly successful pivot that promises to reap future rewards too.
Folks from all over BC came and enjoyed the Cariboo Chilcotin’s old-fashioned hospitality and country values and they loved it!
“The people who stayed with us last year are staying with us this year,” Peters says. In fact, some are even staying twice in the same year, building an even stronger foundation for the business!
Purchasing the land after the 2015 wildfires, and building ever since, Peters has made a point of adding something new to her business every year. Just prior to the pandemic, an outdoor, screened seating area had been constructed, meaning that they had a leg-up on outdoor dining.
Through the Tourism Resiliency Program and advisor support , Peters took part in the Launch Online grant, a BC small business grant, and took part in several digital marketing training opportunities.
For the team at Woodlands Fishin’ Resort and other tourism innovators, the future looks bright!
Learn more about Woodlands Fishin’ Resort here.
Business owners can learn more here about the CCCTA.
To learn more and sign up for support through the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Resiliency Program, visit their website at www.tourismresiliency.ca/ccctrp