By: Korie Marshall

Tourism Valemount is one of five partners joining to create “a compelling new tourism brand” for the North Thompson Valley, aimed at increasing visitors from Europe, Australia and across Canada.

The five stakeholders spanning the Highway 5 corridor from just north of Kamloops to the Alberta border have joined in a pilot project with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association to create a strong online presence and brand messaging, says a news release from TOTA.

Funding the project are Tourism Valemount, Tourism Sun Peaks, the Lower North Thompson Tourism Society, Tourism Wells Gray and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, with matching support from the provincial government’s tourism agency, Destination BC, through its Community Tourism Opportunities program.

Project leader Simone Carlysle-Smith, TOTA’s Community Development Specialist, says the project will incorporate the principles of a research-based tourism marketing program owned by the Canadian Tourism Commission called EQ (Explorer Quotient). EQ helps organizations and businesses develop marketing based on the potential visitor’s social values and travel motivations.

Carlysle-Smith says the project flows from a tourism plan prepared for the valley more than a year ago, and is the first plan to align with TOTA’s 10-year tourism strategy, finalized in November 2012.

“The North Thompson is a distinct part of British Columbia, defined by pillars such as Wells Gray Park, Murtle Lake and Mt. Robson,” says Christopher Nicolson, President of Tourism Sun Peaks and Chair of the North Thompson Valley Marketing Committee. “These are iconic to adventure seekers and place the region on a global stage with New Zealand and Patagonia.”

The North Thompson Valley encompasses ranchlands, hundreds of lakes, wilderness areas and soaring mountains, and includes stunning natural wonders, perfect for backcountry adventure tourism. Until now, many international travelers have viewed the North Thompson Valley more as a travel corridor between Southern BC and Alberta, rather than as an area rich with its own amazing destinations that deserve an extended stay, says the news release.
The project will develop a brand, a website and a digital strategy that will focus on destinations and activities that exemplify the authentic Canadian outdoors experiences that visitors can have in the North Thompson Valley, both in winter and summer. The website will tell the North Thompson Valley story through the profile of key destination experiences and the unique eco-system.