Tourism AGM pursued

Campbell River’s tourism arm has applied to host a provincial tourism event next spring despite some councillors insisting the city isn’t ready.

Council, at its Nov. 23 meeting, learned Tourism Campbell River and Region is vying to host the Tourism Industry Association of B.C.’s Annual General Meeting and Summit in May, 2016. Tourism Campbell River was looking for a letter of support from council to add to its application.

“We recognize the opportunity to profile Campbell River and region by hosting events such as this,” wrote Donna Hains, Tourism board chair, in a letter to council. “Meeting and event planning is a valuable way to connect with business leaders and government representatives throughout the province.”

But Coun. Larry Samson said he believes 2016 is not the right time, with the city still dealing with the disbanding of Rivercorp and trying to figure out where tourism and economic development all fit in.

“I have some concerns in that we’re in a state, I’ll say, of transition right now with our tourism and other parts of this industry and I’m just wondering, with us applying for the hotel tax, if this does pass, who’s going to be taking the lead on this,” Samson said. “I think that this is too soon. I’m just wondering if maybe we should be looking for 2017, instead of 2016.”

Mayor Andy Adams said the Tourism arm, under the guidance of INfilm’s Joan Miller, did a successful job of hosting Tourism Vancouver Island’s Annual Conference and AGM in mid-September and said he would expect more of the same with the provincial event.

“I think they are more than capable of pulling this off if we are successful,” Adams said. “It does leave some doors open and I think the one thing that’s really important here is continuing to pursue accommodations during the shoulder season. That helps our tourism business.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield agreed with Samson, saying 2017 would be better. But to Coun. Ron Kerr that was a moot point.

“The application has gone in, it’s not our choice whether or not it goes in, so I think it’s up to us to support it.”

In the end, council agreed with Kerr and voted to send a letter of support to Tourism Campbell River for its application.