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VIDEO: ‘Protecting this gift’ seeks to transform approach by Tourism Ch’illiwack

Expectation for visitors is to tread lightly, responsibly whether hiking, biking, or dike walking
Protect This Gift is a campaign of care launched by Tourism Ch’illiwack. (Tourism Ch’illiwack screenshot)

Tourism Ch’illiwack has launched the ‘Protecting this Gift’ initiative this spring with the goal of changing its approach to destination management.

A new video depicts Tourism Ch’illiwack moving toward ‘regenerative tourism,’ which refers to leaving a place better than you found it.

“Tourism Ch’illiwack is striving to be the force for transformation,” said Allison Colthorp, executive director of Tourism Ch’illiwack. “We believe a destination brand can inspire value change, and ‘Protecting this Gift’ is not only a brand aspiration but a human aspiration.”

The idea meshes the well-being of society with the well-being of the entire ecosystem, to a degree where everyone from residents, to businesses and more, will benefit.

“The business of tourism pre-COVID was already bursting at the seams for most B.C. communities so it’s time to ensure we responsibly manage tourism in Chilliwack and the surrounding areas,” said board chair Brian Minter.

Tourism Ch’illiwack has been inching toward regenerative tourism in the last few years.

“But this provides us with a strong and meaningful platform that not only we will use but our tourism partners can also embrace and connect to their businesses,” Minter said.

There’s a dawning expectation for folks who visit to tread lightly, and responsibly whether hiking, biking, dike walking or otherwise soaking up the natural beauty. The move toward responsible tourism also addresses the endless challenge of illegal garbage-dumping across the region, and reflects the need to shift into a “destination management” organization from a “destination marketing” one.

That purposeful shift to “management” is about taking care of the gift that is Chilliwack’s natural areas and preventing environmental damage, with a pack-it-in-pack-it-out mentality.

‘Protecting this Gift’ breaks down into four pillars: Be Prepared, Be Respectful, Be Safe, Leave Enriched.

The latest tourism video evokes a sense of purpose and actions that are aimed at both residents and visitors.

Tourism Ch’illiwack is the official destination management organization for the City of Chilliwack, FVRD Area E and H, and the Cultus Lake Park Board. Tourism Ch’illiwack operates on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the Ts’elxwéyeqw and Pelho’lhxw Tribes of the Stó:lō-Coast Salish peoples.

“Protecting this Gift” is in alignment with Tourism Ch’illiwack’s five-year strategic plan and the Sí:yá:ya Yóyes: Living Tourism Action Plan. Tourism Ch’illiwack is a member of Leave No Trace Canada and is proud to also support the initiatives by BC Adventure Smart.

The video launch will be followed by a shift in the social presence, marketing initiatives, and operations of Tourism Ch’illiwack.

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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