Branding the Boundary

The Boundary Country tourism board held a workshop on Oct. 29 at the Community Futures building in Grand Forks.

The identity of the Boundary as a tourism destination is now being crafted.The Boundary Country tourism board held a workshop on Oct. 29 at the Community Futures building in Grand Forks. The workshop began with an overview of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), which is one of six tourism regions in B.C. and includes Grand Forks. TOTA is run in partnership with Destination B.C., the former Tourism B.C.The workshop also featured several brain storming sessions including: What does Boundary Country want to be known for? What are five themes? What are the key images? Speaking at the workshop were Simon Carlysle-Smith, community development specialist, (TOTA), and Kim Cameron, Explorer Quotient (EQ) writer and storyteller.Attending the workshop were a wide range of people from throughout the region.A similar workshop was held in Midway earlier that day.“It’s the rollout for the 10-year regional strategy for the Thompson Okanagan and connecting that regional strategy for communities locally,” said Carlysle-Smith. “We’re applying the regional strategy principles to destination marketing. Specifically, redevelopment of the current website for responsive design and incorporation of the regional strategy principles.”Carlysle-Smith told the Gazette she thought both workshops in the Boundary area were successful and informative.“They both went really well,” she said. “We got seven volunteers on the task force to ensure we do a good job of story telling for the project. So we’re thrilled about that.”Carlysle-Smith describes the story telling act as a way of drawing in tourists using stories instead of just listing things to do.    “It’s talking about what the experiences are like,” she said. “It’s based more on an emotional appeal rather than a physical ‘here’s what to see and do.’”Improving Boundary tourismJames Wilson, executive director for the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, thought the workshop was a great event.“We had very good representation from throughout the Boundary,” he said. “We had people coming from Rock Creek to Christina Lake and sharing their knowledge of the Boundary.”Wilson said a large part of the workshop was looking at ways to improve the Boundary Country tourism website and better promote the area to tourists. Wilson also added that it was good to see TOTA holding a workshop and investing in the Boundary region.“There’s money they want to put into this Boundary Country,” he said. “They want to encourage tourism. TOTA realizes that Highway 3 is a major highway and we’re right on that line and a lot of people come through here.” Mayor Brian Taylor attending the workshop in Grand Forks along with councilor Cher Wyers and city staff member Sarah Winton.“We’re always looking for better ways to promote tourism in our community,” said Taylor. “Like she (Carlysle-Smith) said, we work with TOTA, but we also work with the other side (Kootenay-Rockies). Sometimes we get missed, being sort of in between the two organizations. We have to keep them attached to use to ensure that they don’t forget the Boundary in brochures and such.”