The rescue boat comes to pick up Desmond White

Tourism partnership could reach millions

Two lucky Americans will be heading to Campbell River this summer for the vacation of a lifetime thanks to a new sweepstakes partnership between Tourism Campbell River & Region and the History Channel.

The channel’s latest hit show, Alone, which puts 10 people into the wilderness, outfits them with cameras and sees what they get up to and how long they last, is about to air its second season. Since it was filmed in the North Island, the launch of Season 2 of the show was a perfect opportunity to showcase our region to a wider audience, according to film commissioner Joan Miller, who helped organize the production logistics along with Andrea Knowles of Tourism Campbell River & Region.

“It’s super exciting,” Knowles says. “This is an amazing opportunity for us to showcase ourselves to people who we wouldn’t have had exposure to otherwise,” Knowles says.

Miller helped get the filming going, in her role as film commissioner with INFilm (Vancouver Island North Film Commission), and says she was working on getting a tourism tie-in going to help promote the region with the producers of the show right from the first conversation they had in the planning stages, and this sweepstakes came out of those ongoing discussions.

“This was going to be a really amazing opportunity to brand Campbell River,” Miller says, adding that Season 1 of the show had a Vancouver Island prize package attached, but when it was time for Season 2 to roll out, there was an opportunity to get a more local focus to the contest, “so Andrea and I got on the phone, and pulled the whole thing together with the help of some awesome local businesses.”

They wanted the prize for the contest to reflect the nature of the show – which is all about being out in nature – so they began approaching the various guiding and adventure companies in the area to gather up an “adventure” package for the contest winners.

The prize they managed to pull together, valued at over $4,000 USD, includes transportation thanks to an agreement with the Creative Industries Council, airfare from anywhere in North America to Campbell River, three nights’ stay at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Campbell River and three nights’ stay at Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge over on Quadra, along with a full day of grizzly bear and whale watching with Campbell River Whale Watching and Bears of Bute, a full-day Zodiak tour with Eagle Eye Adventures and a three-hour raft and snorkel with salmon adventure in the Campbell River with Destiny River Adventures.

Unfortunately for Canadian fans of the show, this particular sweepstakes is only available to American viewers – Canadian fans can’t even get to history.com, where the sweepstakes are hosted, but are instead redirected to history.ca – but they can enter the weekly contest for $500 cash and a grand prize of $5,000.

But the value for the region obviously isn’t just in bringing two more American tourists in this summer.

The contest page has all kinds of direct links to Campbell River companies and features, and it is being shared through a concerted social media campaign, driving all kinds of web traffic to look at Campbell River as a destination for outdoor adventuring.

“The visibility this is going to bring to the region is outstanding,” Knowles says. “The show has over 50,000 followers on Facebook, the channel has over 39 million, and they’re sharing the contest all the time, all over the place.”

“And when you combine that with the amazing visuals that people are going to see when the show airs,” Miller says, “I expect we’ll find a huge increase in interest in the area, which could add to what we’re already expecting will be a very strong year for tourism, with the exchange rate (USD/Canadian Dollar) being what it is.”

Miller says they have already had to implement summer hours at the Visitor’s Centre to keep up with demand, and they have distributed what would normally be a year’s worth of Visitor’s Guides in the first three months they’ve been available, hinting that this year will be a significant one for tourism.

To keep up to date with what’s happening at Tourism Campbell River and Region, give “Discover Campbell River” a “Like” on Facebook.

Season 2 of Alone premiered April 21, and the has already been renewed for a third season, which is expected to be filmed in Patagonia.