Executive director Allison Colthrop and board chair Brian Minter were proud to accept the prestigious ‘Professional Excellence’ award on behalf of Chilliwack Tourism from the BC Destination Marketing Organization Association 2018 Awards.

Executive director Allison Colthrop and board chair Brian Minter were proud to accept the prestigious ‘Professional Excellence’ award on behalf of Chilliwack Tourism from the BC Destination Marketing Organization Association 2018 Awards.

Tourism Chilliwack brings home industry award of excellence

Sto:lo Welcome Figures carving project outside the Visitor Centre loomed large in the win

Tourism Chilliwack reps were thrilled to learn they had earned a prestigious B.C. tourism award for their marketing and collaborative process.

Executive director Allison Colthrop and board chair Brian Minter were all smiles on-stage as they were presented with the ‘professional excellence’ for Tourism Chilliwack from BC Destination Marketing Organizations Association.

The award was presented jointly courtesy of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Andrew Peller Limited on March 9.

The new Sto:lo Welcome Figures project, which was undertaken at the Visitor Centre last year loomed large in the recognition.

“It was the initiative that stood out from last year,” Colthorp recalled.

The Sto:lo Welcome Figures project stemmed from a successful Canada 150 grant.

Nora Cumming, a member of the judging committee for the awards, said this particular tourism award is “all about professional excellence, which encompasses marketing, accountability to the community and industry, and of course collaboration.”

The Welcome Figures project hit those marks.

“Of all the nominees, the judging committee felt that Tourism Chilliwack had shown real leadership with the long-term investment in the Welcome Figures.

“It really demonstrated for everybody the power of tourism, community and partnerships in its way of addressing reconciliation with local First Nations.”

The carving was conducted on-site in Chilliwack by master carver Terry Horne, and at different times had school kids watching, and interacting with him.

The project figured prominently in their application to BCDMOA for the ‘professional excellence’ award.

What it did accomplish was allowing Chilliwack Tourism to take their partnerships deeper, said Allison Colthorp, executive director of Tourism Chilliwack.

“Tourism Chilliwack and Sto:lo have worked together for many years, but, there was a desire to take the strong partnership to the next level,” she said.

READ MORE: Fostering relationships with Sto:lo

The board decision to set aside funding and a successful grant application led to the completion of two welcome figures.

“These figures are now visible from Highway 1 and share with visitors the important and historical connection of the people to the land,” said Colthorp in the application.

Fostering relationships and making connections with the local Sto:lo puts them on the road toward reconciliation.

“We never realized that we could as a tourism organization, and as a board, be part of the reconciliation process for our province,” she said.

About 1500 students met the carver, Terry Horne, and watched him work.

READ MORE: Welcome figures carved

“This project has now paved the way for future partnerships in the tourism sector that will be implemented in 2018, ideally in partnership with the Indigenous Tourism Association of BC.”

The award for ‘Professional Excellence’ is meant to demonstrate “commitment, outstanding marketing performance, accountability” to the tourism industry in B.C. The winner is “a proven leader, an example of professionalism and best practices and has provided measurable value to the local and provincial tourism industry.”

Adopting a “entrepreneurial mindset” has also held Chilliwack Tourism in good stead, managing Heritage Park, running the flag shop, and creating the #ShareChilliwack campaign, as examples. They also launched a new line of clothing with the ‘Wander the Great Outside’ logo created in tandem with a local company.

Attracting high-profile events to Chilliwack is also key.

“Tourism Chilliwack brought the BMX Canada Fraser Valley Nationals event, which fills almost every hotel room in our community twice a year (May and October) with over 700 riders to Chilliwack Heritage Park,” noted Colthorp. “In 2018, Chilliwack will be the new home of the Ride to Conquer Cancer. This annual event will use Heritage Park and will utilize the ground for camping and also utilize hotels.”


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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