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Celebrating Tourism

Special Feature

Celebrating Tourism Week and the Development of a Tourism Master Plan for Fernie By Jikke Gyorki Executive Officer Tourism Fernie Fernie is joining communities, cities and regions around British Columbia to recognize National Tourism Week—May 27 to June 2, 2018. Tourism is an important piece of Fernie’s economy and supports social, cultural and recreational benefits for all citizens. In recognition of the many residents and businesses that rely on tourism an Aprés Work Social is being held on Tuesday May 29th from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the new Cast Iron Grill Restaurant at the Fernie Golf Club. Anyone is welcome to attend this casual networking event. In 2016, tourism in British Columbia contributed more to GDP than mining, forestry and logging, and agriculture and fishing. In 2017, Fernie had its best year with accommodation revenues up 18 per cent over 2016. Fernie welcomed over 307,000 visitors who experienced everything from Historic Downtown, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, rafting, biking, arts, culture, events and so much more. The start of 2018 is seeing the continuation of a growing tourism economy in Fernie.

In light of this trend and the challenges that growth can prompt, Tourism Fernie has partnered with the City of Fernie and Fernie Chamber of Commerce to undertake a Tourism Master Plan process starting this spring. Funded in part by Columbia Basin Trust, this Plan will engage with stakeholders and the community to look at where Fernie is today, where we want to be and identify how to get there. In today’s exceedingly competitive tourism economy, it is valuable for all stakeholders within a destination to work toward a common goal. This means not only promoting the destination but planning, funding and governing it as well. All stakeholders need to be rowing in the same direction to be successful in today’s world. A Tourism Master Plan aims to achieve this. Stakeholders in Fernie include many community organizations in addition to those mentioned above, such as the Arts Council, Historical Society, Trails Alliance, Nordic Society, Snowmobile Association and Elk River Alliance, as well as event organizers, residents, second home owners and all of the businesses that provide Fernie’s visitor experiences and services – activities, attractions, retail, food and beverage, real estate and accommodations. Engagement with stakeholders is an essential component of the Tourism Master Plan for Fernie. For more details and updates on the process please visit

Photo: Tourism Fernie

Page B2 Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Free Press

Welcoming Visitors to Fernie By Patty Vadnais Executive Director Fernie Chamber of Commerce Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing and most competitive economic sectors. Businesses across the province and locally echo this global view reporting tourism as a key economic driver as noted in the BC Chamber Perspectives Report and Fernie Chamber of Commerce Business Retention and Expansion Report. Tourism success relies heavily on providing a quality visitor experience. As part of our mission to strengthen commerce in Fernie, the chamber works alongside businesses, the City, and Tourism Fernie to create remarkable experiences for our guests that keep them coming back and encouraging others to visit Fernie. Two chamber tools for creating remarkable experiences are Fernie’s Visitor Centre and the Ambassador Program. The Fernie Visitor Centre located northeast of town on Highway 3 is part of the Destination BC (DBC) Visitor Services Network. This network includes more than 100 community operated centres across the province. Being part of the DBC network ensures quality training for our staff that delivers a seamless visitor experience. Fernie visitor information counsellors get local training with the Fernie Ambassador Program and familiarization trips to local businesses and services. This allows us to provide information from first-hand experiences to the guest for all things Fernie. In 2017, the chamber launched a Mobile Visitor Kiosk. The mobile kiosk is an adaption to the way visitors are looking for information. While we still have visitors come in and say “visitor centres are always my first stop in a new town. I saw the big “i” coming into town and followed it” like Kim Anderson, of Hailey, ID, we know that we need to be more accessible to the visitor in ways that work for them. The Mobile Visitor Kiosk can be moved around to meet the needs of our visitors. Watch for the Mobile Visitor Kiosk downtown, at Wednesday Concert Series, the Farmer’s Market and other local events. The Ambassador Program, launched fall 2015, has trained over 300 locals. The Ambassador Program covers customer service skills and local knowledge. The program is a fantastic opportunity to connect like-minded residents and be inspired by this amazing place we live. The course gives participants tools to promote Fernie and share information about local trails, dining, events, activities and more to Fernie visitors. Locals celebrating Fernie and sharing their knowledge is part of creating a memorable experience that

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Photo: Free Press files

encourages guests to return. Every person in our community that encounters a visitor has an opportunity to influence that guests experience, and the Ambassador Program provides the tools to make that experience great. The Ambassador Program is open to anyone who would like to take it. Questions about the program can be directed to the Chamber of Commerce or visit for more details. The Fernie Chamber of Commerce is excited about the growth of our tourism industry. The visitor centre last year welcomed over 17,000 guests, a 15 per cent increase over 2016. We are looking to continue building the Ambassador Program as a strong tool for local business. Local businesses understand that each touchpoint with a visitor is an opportunity to contribute to an outstanding visitor experience. The chamber encourages you to welcome visitors to our community, help them enjoy it as much as we all do, and celebrate the opportunity tourism brings to our community’s future success.

NEXT COURSE JUNE 6 12:30 - 4:30 PM Register @ College of the Rockies


Hiking Info, Souvenirs, Maps, Directions Trail Head, Sani-Dump


GROWING THE PEOPLE THAT POWER FERNIE. Join the Chamber of Commerce. And find out how membership pays for itself.

250.423.6868 Look for the Mobile Visitor Kiosk at local events.

The Free Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018 Page B3

Fernie - Defining Tourism “The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Tourism” as “The theory and practice of touring; travelling for pleasure and the business of attracting tourists and providing for their accommodation and entertainment, the business of operating tours.” By Mary Giuliano Mayor of Fernie

folks realized competition for visitors was huge and a move was made to make the summers an enticement. There is no place more beautiful than Fernie on a clear day. Majestic mountains against blue sky, green foliage, a clear river and thriving In a Free Press file circa early 1900s I read an article by noted downtown with patios decorated with colourful flowers have shown visitors photographer J. Spalding, the man responsible for many of summer in Fernie offers a fantastic place to come, and they do. the iconic historic images depicting scenes of early Fernie and The dictionary also states that a “tourist” is one who travels for pleasure or area and in it he speaks about “Tourism” in this area as being culture, visiting a number of places of interest and scenery. something that was an attraction for those travelling from Fernie has been discovered by a world that sees the natural beauty that is still abroad. He believed the pristine natural beauty of this area was here and the high quality of life it offers. For a small town it offers a large arts an amazing draw. and culture community, with several galleries, a music festival, and many sports Many think Tourism in Fernie is activities. There are events happening each week, with a relatively new resource that basically came about _______________________________________________ socials, cycling races and there is an amazing array of since the ski hill became world renowned. In reality, unique restaurants and shops to check out. Yes, there “.... people have been travelling people have been travelling and making this area a are still those that would prefer that Fernie wasn’t destination for over a century. Travellers came for the and making this area a destination a resort destination, those that don’t like the patios outdoor sports of hunting, trapping and fishing. There and bike racks, who say that these amenities are only for over a century.” was such an abundance of fish in the Elk River that _______________________________________________ for the tourists. I understand their point of view and residents and visitors could go to any spot along the often explain that no, this isn’t true. Visitors contribute water in town and pull out 50 grayling at a sitting. to keeping these businesses open; they keep the Freezers were filled with wild game to tide families over the winter and wild downtown and highway busy, they help keep this town alive and thriving. huckleberries were so plentiful that both human and animals could feast on them. In April, 200 delegates from around the region, from Golden, Nelson, Cranbrook Although the population of Fernie hasn’t changed dramatically in the past 100 to Elkford and Sparwood and in between came to Fernie for the annual conference years, nature around us has been affected to a degree. Development of the wild of elected officials and sponsors. All who visited the museum, library, shops and areas surrounding town and logging has made a difference. Development was restaurants marvelled at what is here for everyone to enjoy. On the weekend unavoidable as the town increased in size when it added tourism to an economy hundreds of visitors descended on the town for the swim meet held at the Aquatic that had been predominately resource based for many decades. However, without Centre in which nearly 300 children competed. Include family members, and this this diversification of the economy Fernie could have declined as many towns adds up to a lot of economic benefit for our community. Tourism helps keep our dependent on one resource often do. With the 1957 Coal Creek Mine closure and businesses viable; a strong business community means a thriving town. Tourism many of the service offices relocated to other cities like Cranbrook and Nelson, will assist to keep Fernie strong economically; it will assist to keep the town vibrant Fernie needed something else to keep residents here and existing business viable. and alive for years to come. The new ski hill built at the present location was a huge draw for neighbouring As residents and business people we need to continue to appreciate and watch Albertans who found the three-hour drive relatively quick and easy and so built over this community and do whatever possible to continue to diversify to keep this homes here, where they could come on weekends. For many years winter was amazing small town here for future generations. the time to be here to visit, to ski, snowboard or snowshoe. But soon enterprising

Tantalizing Taste Buds in Fernie By Trevor Semchuck Owner Lost Boys Distilling Co. The food, and particularly the beverage sector, is taking off and sparking a new facet of tourism in Fernie. Based on trends internationally, nationally, and throughout British Columbia, it is clear that the food and beverage (F&B) sector must prepare to embrace the future. In past the F&B sector has been supplementary to recreational-based tourism that Fernie is known for around the world. However, it is now growing into its own tourism niche. In particular, the beverage sector in Fernie is establishing strong and diverse representation. With Fernie now boasting a brewery, distilleries, coffee roasters and kombucha producers, there is literally something for everyone. Having these types of businesses available to potential tourists can be the determining factor when deciding where to go on a ski vacation or fly fishing trip. After a great day on the slopes, trails, or river, there are plenty of options for people to eat and drink to round out a memorable day in the mountains and gain insight into what makes our town tick. Since products from the beverage sector are also

distributed far beyond our city limits, a broad spectrum of the potential tourist demographic is exposed to great things Fernie has to offer. The real benefit of these beverage based businesses is their sustainability throughout the year. The offerings of this type of tourism is not determined by the seasons, conditions, or weather, so there is a level of consistency offered throughout the year and over time. In the event that Mother Nature throws a wrench into the plans of recreational tourism (rain, snow- or lack of, fire…) this sector provides an outlet for tourists to enjoy the other aspects of what makes Fernie a unique and special place. As this tourism sector continues to grow and diversify it is surely going to attract foodies and beverage Photo: Tourism Fernie connoisseurs to our humble mountain home. Given the potential for new businesses and catering to a new tourism demographic, watch for new and exciting developments in your local F&B industry. Our flourishing beverage sector is another way for tourists to drink up the Fernie stoke and create memorable authentic experiences for people from all walks of life, ages and abilities.

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The Free Press

Why Tourism Matters Mike Hepher – Clawhammer Press

“We moved to Fernie precisely for the tourism. Fernie offers exposure to a community of people much, much wider than the people who ‘live here’ (however you define that) by bringing people in to ski, and increasingly, bike, hike, shop, etc. On any given Saturday I’d say 8 of 10 people in our gallery are NOT from Fernie. That makes a business like mine which is retail, and ‘boutique’ in a sense, viable in a small town because 5000 people isn’t enough to sustain it if there were no tourists. For a short term, perhaps, but once everyone in town had a ‘Coffee, Bike, Sleep, Repeat’ poster then the sales would dry up. With our current strong tourism seasons we are able to survive without having to move to a larger population centre. I think there is still potential to continue the growth, but I’d always love to see that growth be thoughtful and metered, with good planning and foresight.” “Tourism is good for Fernie because it expands our horizons. I credit the influx of ‘cosmopolitan’ views and tastes for the increase in boutique shopping, fine dining, and artscentric opportunities. Many small towns don’t have these influences, and never manage to find a way to use them to lever their towns into new cultural opportunities. People travel here from all over, love the place, some of them find a way to move back here and start a business and then, in the context of being part of a community, be part of the direction of the growth. It’s cool to see.”

finitea T-Bar & In – g in m le F ie n Stepha ly on the months, is definite Boutique lly in the summer the usual

ie, especia uring beyond “Tourism in Fern ore people vent m d to grow an e or m e se town. Continuing ain nt ou increase as we m tle lit r ntown small discovering ou important to dow ely destinations and m tre ex is n destinatio people who visit comes from the s Fernie as a tourist es sin bu r ou of ge part the patio!” businesses as a hu r a bite to eat on fo y sta d an s ain the mount

lling Co.rwise oys Disti B t s o L – t othe k c u h ig c ers we m ht no Trevor Ses m potential custom to se the very re ca su ow po sh ex d an us ity

Abi Moore – Fernie Brewing Co.

“Tourism give Fernie’s commun s us to highlight ow all o als It h. ac re ie has to of fer.” best of what Fern

“Tourism is a fundamental part of Fernie. Its development, success and growth over the years has not only enabled new businesses to pop up and thrive, but allowed existing business to grow, develop and increase offerings to the community. The support Fernie Brewing Co. receives from both locals and visitors alike, has resulted in us being able to in return, wholeheartedly support the Fernie community – via events, festivals, fundraisers and our “Cheers to Charity!” program. It’s our way of saying thanks.

Jon Ward – Red Tree Lodge

“Tourism is important to Fernie because it helps to attract young families. I chose to live in Fernie because I want to live in a small town but also want some of the benefits that a larger population – locals + visitors - can bring. Tourism encourages infrastructure, culture, amenities, and opportunities that allow Fernie to “punch outside its weight class” and makes a small town seem just a little bit bigger.”

Testimonials from Local Fernie Businesses Photos: Tourism Fernie

– Chantel Vincent Freyja Lifestyle Fashion tail. But why?

for re “Tourism matters ion en more competit be r ve ne s ha e er Th ns tio op e Th w. s then no for Fernie retailer are e lin on d an wn to shop out of to s ble, Fernie retailer endless. To be via class rld wo ing fer of by fiercely compete ucts. and unique prod customer service g pin op sh r ito vis ity In a small commun d un ro ving yearis essential to achie l ving a vibrant retai ha By . ity bil sustaina to shops are able community local They y ways to Fernie. an m in e contribut and ts uc od pr ry nd provide jobs, a su pport e economy and su services, a divers draisers fun ts, en ev al loc many much loved out a successful and projects. With rnie ity, what would Fe retailing commun look like?”

The Free Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018 Page B5

Digital and Content Marketing By Mike McPhee Marketing Director Island Lake Lodge Photographer/Writer

The internet and access to it have drastically changed the entire travel experience from the research phase, trip booking, travel phase and post-visit activities. As digital technology has crept into our lives to the point of being all-encompassing, this trend has posed both great challenges and opportunities for marketers and the tourism industry as a whole. The sheer numbers are impressive. There were 3.77 billion global Internet users in 2017, equaling 50 per cent penetration, 2.80 billion global social media users in 2017, equaling 37 per cent penetration and 4.92 billion global mobile users in 2017, equaling 66 per cent penetration. It is also interesting to note that active social media users increased by 21 per cent, up 482 million versus 2015. When just looking at North America, penetration and usage are higher than the global average, with 88 per cent Internet usage and 66 per cent social media usage. In a general sense, the way businesses and marketers communicate with consumers is drastically changing. Old ideas of how, when and what to communicate to consumers are being challenged in almost every way possible. Traditional advertising and marketing ideas, which focused on one-way communication, have witnessed significant transformation. The consumer or travelers now hold increased power and demand 2-way communication. Leading up to a vacation or, in some cases, inspiring the idea of a vacation, content on social media play a key role. In order to gain a grasp of some of these trends, I recently did a large survey of digital habits with a wide range of age demographics. Here are some of the results. • Respondents spend an average of 9.6 hours per week on Social Media. • The Social Networks most used are: 1. Facebook – 91.53 per cent 2. Instagram – 61.04 per cent 3. LinkedIn – 48.71 per cent 4. Pintrest – 38.58 per cent 5. Twitter – 33.89 per cent 6. Snapchat – 22.65 per cent

• 60.09 per cent of respondents use a smart phone to connect with the internet • No Surprise. 99 per cent of people use the internet to research a trip • 50.86 per cent of people spend one - five hours per week daydreaming about a trip and browsing the internet even when they have no trip planned • Travelers rated the importance of digital channels and content in the following order: 1. Quality photos of a place 2. A businesses website 3. Maps of the area 4. Videos of a place • 75 per cent of people say they have been influenced to go somewhere based on a friend’s social feeds. 30 per cent have changed their travel plans based on the same! • 45.70 per cent of people have asked their social networks where to go within a certain destination. • 70.27 per cent of people prefer to contact a business through their website or social channels rather than the phone. • 72.32 per cent of people have booked a travel activity through their mobile device. What does all this mean? In a general sense, we need to understand that the tourism and marketing landscapes have drastically changed, especially in the last five years. Here are some key points; * Digital Media dominates ALL phases of travel. * The inspiration and research phase is now 24 / 7 / 365. * If your site isn’t VERY mobile friendly, you are losing money! * Mobile devices are now the guidebook, video camera, high-res still camera, map, communication device and sometimes... a phone! * Digital habits seem to flatten out after the age of 45. * Quality content is now the very heart of marketing and branding. * Consumers and travelers want to be inspired, entertained and educated. Overt sales pitches are a turn off in many cases. * Quality photos are perhaps the most important aspect of digital marketing. * Consumer segments continue to fracture. * Calculating ROI has become very difficult, especially for small businesses. * Power has shifted from the business to the consumer. Instead of a 1-way message, a 2-way conversation should be the new path.

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Page B6 Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Free Press

Cultural and Heritage Tourism Promotes Fernie’s Unique Charms By Ron Ulrich Director Fernie Museum

Along with cultural attractions and local cuisine, they seek: • a place with beautiful scenery; • destinations for outdoor activities; • a great place to relax and get away from it all; Thanks to a thriving industrial base, active business community, • a place with lots of things for families to see and do; and abundant recreational options, the Elk Valley is home to a broad • a great place for fishing and low-impact hiking; segment of the population seeking a well-rounded lifestyle. With this • a place with lots of things for mature adults to see and do. vibrant and varied populace comes an active arts community and a An increasing number of today’s workforce are engaged in the creative economy. This rich heritage legacy from strong roots in coal mining and pioneering, has been an integral factor in the creation of a new tourism sector - Creative Tourism. creating a powerful draw for visitors to our community. Visitors in this sector seek to enrich their travel activities by actively participating, doing The typical cultural tourist shares the following characteristics: and creating. An increasing number of travellers are seeking classes, workshops and one• earns more money and spends more money while on on-one experiences with artists to enrich their travel experience, learn new techniques, vacation; and engage with local practice and tradition. _______________________________________________ • spends more time in an area while on vacation; In 2019, Fernie celebrates 100 years of tourism. • is more likely to stay at hotels or motels; Tourism Fernie will be adopting the Fernie Tourism Master “the practice of traveling to • is far more likely to shop; Plan, a blueprint which builds on the vision of J.F. Spalding, experience historic and cultural • generally well educated and consider themselves who, with the Fernie Board of Trade, founded the East lifelong learners; Kootenay and Southern Alberta Tourism Association to attractions to learn about a • generally women; promote this region. This strategic document will foster new, community’s heritage, culture and • tends to be in older age categories responsible growth and collaboration within the tourism • less leisure time but a greater emphasis on quality community. The good news for Fernie and the Elk Valley lifestyle in an enjoyable and time experiences. is that we offer a tremendous diversity of attractions, and educational way. The cultural tourist market is highly sought by others in Cultural and Creative Tourists not only want to experience a the tourism sector and societal trends point to the increased _______________________________________________ community’s culture and way of life first hand, they also want importance of culture as a travel motivator. Baby boomers to enjoy the outdoors. will account for a growing market segment as they grow Concurrently, heritage and cultural planning is being undertaken by other community older over the next twenty years. By 2026, people over the age of 55 will account for 2/5 organizations. Together, the two plans will provide thorough community- and stakeholderof Canada’s population. As a result, the number of Canadians who will be in the market driven tools that will strengthen existing cultural programming and facilities, provide for heritage activities will grow from an estimated 2.6 million now to about 3.7 million a comprehensive strategy to direct future investment in all tourism sectors, and foster in 2026. A vastly larger number of visitors also seek museums, art galleries, festivals and meaningful engagement for residents and visitors alike. other cultural pursuits as a secondary motivator in travelling.


Proud to be celebrating our 32nd year in the Fernie Tourism Industry! Thanks to our amazing staff members who have made this possible! We’re known for our Cat Skiing, Fly fishing and Wildlife Viewing….but,


our lodge is available for weddings, corporate retreats, reunions, or private parties? Call us at 250-423-6704 or stop by our office located inside the Park Place Lodge to discuss booking a fun adventure or business event!

The Free Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018 Page B7

Finding Solutions to Employee Retention and Housing By Jeremiah Pauw Owner Super 8 Fernie

a financial risk and in April 2017 purchased the Evergreen apartment buildings. We currently provide housing for seven of our valued employees. Over the past year we have experienced a 92 per cent retention rate compared to an average of 61 per cent in the past. Not only has retention jumped so has the quality of Fernie has been experiencing a boom in the tourism industry my employees and thus the service to my guests. These results speak to possible over the past 10 years. We have seen the benefits of this strong solutions to Fernie’s problems with employee retention and affordable housing. emerging industry in many ways around town. With this fast With the rise of the sharing economy and online short-term rental sites such growth in the tourism industry there are always growing pains, as Airbnb and VRBO we have seen a decrease in available long-term rentals and some of them bigger than others. as a result a rise in the cost of living for all Fernie’s The biggest in my opinion is _______________________________________________ frontline workers. Currently we rent apartments to five employee retention and affordable other businesses in town that have found it necessary “If you have a rental unit, rent it to a housing. I believe the two issues are closely linked to offer their employees housing. I understand that together and one can’t be fixed without the other. local. Rent it to someone who lives in most small businesses in town are not able to offer My wife and I have owned the Super 8 since 2008 affordable housing without some sort of support. That the community. There are lots of and up until last year we have always struggled to support can only come from the government. The retain employees. It has always been our policy to people, good people, looking for provincial government and the Columbia Basin Trust take good care of our employees because we firmly are stepping up with their plans to build 35 affordable places to live.” believe that by taking care of your employees they will housing units in Fernie but we need to do more. take good care of our guests. We try our best to keep - Jeremiah Pauw If you have a rental unit, rent it to a local. Rent it to our employees happy by implementing many benefits _______________________________________________ someone who lives in the community. There are lots and policies. Things like medical insurance, free meals of people, good people, looking for places to live. at work, ski pass for fulltime employees, bonuses, The 35 units announced by the provincial government, Columbia Basin Trust training, team-building activities like cat skiing and white-water rafting. We do our and Fernie Family Housing are a good start. It will not fill our demand for housing. best to maintain a healthy, fun work culture. However, none of that matters unless Secondary suites and garden suites can add to the inventory of long-term rentals employees have affordable safe and stable housing to live in. that will build our community, make it strong and full of people who live, work, In 2016 we were having big problems with staff retention at the Super 8 to and play in Fernie. the point where we considered selling the hotel. We were both working 16-hour days and it was becoming unsustainable. We had to do something. So, we took

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Page B8 Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Free Press

Beyond creating jobs and generating revenue, tourism helps build attractive and livable communities. Travelers seek authentic and nature-based experiences. Fernie’s culture, heritage and environment are all essential assets to a successful tourism economy and represent priorities to residents. Tourism investment helps to increase services, programs, attractions and recreational opportunities that residents also enjoy. As such, tourism creates a platform for positive change by positioning Fernie as a great place to live, work, play and invest. Any undesirable change, such as adverse impact on trails, can be mitigated through collaboration and effectively and sustainably managing growth.

Value of Tourism

Tourism generates many types of revenues for a region, including business income, wage earnings, share earnings, rates and taxes. Direct spending by visitors positively impacts business profitability and employment growth. The money is then ciculated and re-spent in the community via indirect spending, such as staff spending their pay checks on rent, mortgage, groceries, entertainment, clothing, sports equipment etc. This indirect spending attributed to the tourism economy is called the multiplier effect. This also serves to effectively redistribute wealth from urban to rural areas with city dwellers visiting small towns.

in annual visitor spending in 2014-2015

Understanding tourism’s contribution to a community is central to developing an informed tourism planning approach, strenghthening the support of community stakeholders and local government, and encouraging an appreciation of tourism’s economic benefits and development potential.

Number of annual

Average spend of $580 per overnight visitor to Fernie Overseas 12% USA 8%

AB 49% BC 16% Other Canada

15% Average length of stay for overnight visitors 3.4 nights Average Daily Room Rate


Did you know? 2nd Home Owners are a key segment of Fernie’s tourism

economy and represent

30% of all residential properties in town and almost

50% in surrounding Fernie, including the resort

2nd home owners contribute

#BCTourismMatters KOOTENAY Tourism

% of leisure visitors from

visitors 307,000 in 2014-2015

-All WelcomeApres Work Social 4pm-6pm Cast Iron Grill - Fernie Golf Club

Fernie will begin a Tourism Master Plan development process this spring! Visit: tourism-master-plan

Tourism in FERNIE

$100+ million

Join us Tuesday May 29th to Celebrate Tourism Week!

$16 million in ‘annual visitor spending’ alone.

Visitor spending for 2nd home owners is related to dining out, partaking in activ-

millions of dollars non-local 2nd home owners spend on real estate, construction and

Visitor Spending of $777 In 2004:

2.1 million overnight visitors 11% of BC’s overnight visitors 81% of visitors are from Canada, 19% are international

million in 2014

An additional 1.8 million same-day travellers enter and leave the region within a 24 hour period and account for 16% of the region’s total visitor spending The visitors from outside Canada account for 26% of visitor spending

29% of visitors are from BC,

52% are from other provinces – primarily AB, 10% from USA, 9% from Overseas PROVINCIAL Tourism

ities, shopping and local transportation. It does not include the other larger local purchases

87% of visitor spending in Fernie is associated with 53% of the 307,000 visitors, the overnight visitors

143,000 same-day travellers enter and leave Fernie within a 24 hour period and account for 13% of Fernie’s total visitor spending

2% Hotel Tax & RMI Funding has contributed $9 million towards tourism marketing, programs and Fernie’s

infrastructure since 2007

Year-round accommodation occupancy is over

50% with

the slowest months being April, May, October & November

Fishing tourism in Fernie – Guided anglers visiting Fernie account for an estimated


$2.7 million in visitor spending per year

of Fernie businesses surveyed in the Fernie Chamber of Commerce’s BRE

Report indicated that tourism was the economic driver with greatest growth potential

132 businesses in Fernie are directly or closely associated with the tourism industry, 16% of the regions tourism businesses

Tourism Fernie Society is a non-profit, industry-led ogranization that executes tourism marketing, programs and projects that increase local tourism revenue, visitation and economic benefits. Visit

The Free Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018 Page B9

Fernie: A Story of Community and Tourism By Matt Mosteller Senior Vice President Marketing & Resort Experience Resorts of the Canadian Rockies There are few places on earth that brings the sense of awe that comes from this incredible place- full of passionate people and a spectacular natural setting. Many travellers come to Fernie from all over the world to be inspired- many return again and again because of this very reason (or choose never to leave for that matter). We are grateful for the community leaders, stakeholders and providers of a variety of mountain lifestyle experiences, who cultivate Fernie’s uniqueness and strive to embrace a multitude of opportunities to broaden and enhance our communities social, environment and economic health. While we are (obviously) big fans of tourism and want to share our enthusiasm for all of the efforts of each and everyone involved in providing remarkable experiences, we also want to give a shout out for those in a supporting role for our tourism economy and those who are a partner of a person involved in our local tourism industry - Thank You. Thank You. AND Thank You again! For us, we equally want to celebrate all of the volunteers – a big shout out goes to lending their time in our community, whether it be with a club, a non-profit organization or community group where volunteers are the heart beat - thank you as well for doing what you do! Did you know? We at Fernie Alpine Resort and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies are here to support your volunteer, non-profit or community-based organization? We’re forever grateful to the passion of the people from Fernie, to their ongoing support of Fernie Alpine Resort, for their never-ending love of winter, outdoor adventure and most of all for where they live! In fact, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies created the ‘Community Summit Fund’ in 2007 to support community programs, schools and charities wherever possible. The first 5-years of the Summit Fund supported over 100 community organizations and projects totaling over $150,000. With the initial program coming to a close, it was officially renewed indefinitely in 2012. Since being renewed the fund has provided grants for over 300 individual organizations or community events bringing the total dollar value of contributions to well over $300,000.

Photo: Tourism Fernie

Some of the organizations that have benefited from this community program are the B.C. SPCA, Fernie Mountain Film Festival, Wapiti Music Festival, Fernie & District Historical Society, The Fernie Ghostriders Adventure Camps and Fernie Griz Days. In addition to supporting our community organizations and members, the Summit Fund also provides a scholarship to a lucky student from both high schools each graduating year in an effort to further the education of our local youth. Fernie, B.C. – named as ‘The greatest place on Earth’, where the beer is brewed locally and where the ‘no friends on a powder day rule’ is observed with full commitment. If you’ve visited and found yourself not wanting to leave, well, it’s not the first time we’ve heard that (and probably won’t be the last). Finally it is a privilege to be in this amazing place and we take that very seriously.

Open June 23rd - September 3rd

photo: Nick Nault

Plus Bonus Weekends in September!

Hiking - Biking - Scenic Chairlift Rides & Sightseeing Hi Aerial Park - Interpretive Centre Lift Lift Accessed Camping - Kids, Youth & Family Programs Advance Group ble availa Bookings also Sept! & ne in Ju

Page B10 Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Free Press

Photo: Mike McPhee

What's New at Island Lake Lodge By Mike McPhee Marketing Director Island Lake Lodge Photographer/Writer After a fantastic and very snowy winter, we are busy getting ready for the summer season, which runs from June 8th to Oct 8th this year. The lodge is kicking things off with the 2nd annual Untamed Kootenays culinary event. Guests will have the chance to immerse themselves in mountain culture with two full days including two impressive dinners, guided hiking, relaxing in the spa and kicking back on the patio. Chef Keith Farkas has invited two notable Calgary chefs to join him in the kitchen for the 2nd annual affair: Blair Clemis, Chef de Cuisine of Model Milk in Calgary and Executive Chef John Paul Pedhirney of the highly acclaimed Bridgette Bar. Spots are limited for this unique event with 20 rooms for guests wishing to spend the weekend exploring the culinary offerings and scenic natural surroundings. New Iconic Photo Spots and Contest This summer we are adding another three photo spots for a total of 20! You will have a chance to win a great prize package by visiting, shooting and tagging all 20 spots. New Hiking Trail - Goldilocks After working hard for two years on this new trail - it is ready to go! Our all-female

trail crew spent an enormous amount of sweat and calories to complete this gem of the Lizard Range. The trail itself starts at the top of the Spineback trail (at the second bench) and follows the valley between Baby Bear and Papa Bear peaks. It wraps around the back of Baby Bear to the Upper Nonstop saddle with dramatic views of the headwall and The Valley. The trail continues around the east side of Baby Bear and follows a series of switchbacks down the valley between Baby Bear and Mama Bear peaks. It then completes the loop back at the top of the Spineback Trail. Why the name Goldilocks? Well, a trail through the peaks of the 3 Bears built by all women kind of named itself. Length: 2.5 kms Elevation Gain: 210 metres. Max Elevation: 2,075 metres Min elevation: 1,865 metres. When Combined with the Spineback Trail - Length: 6 kms Elevation Gain: 740 metres. Rating: Advanced There are also new menus in the restaurants and spa. Have a look at the website for details and other information. The Bear Lodge has extended hours starting at the beginning of the season - Bear Lodge Hours – Open 11 – 8 from June 8th to Sept 3rd. 11 – 5 from Sept 4th – Oct 7th. Of course, after a good hike or bike, some time in the Spa would be great. Ladies day each Wednesday: book a Spa Manicure / Spa Pedicure combination for $110 (a $160 value) Book 2 or more treatments and receive 15 per cent off (does not include manicures or pedicures). *Both specials must be for the same client, on the same day. Have a great summer and we will see you on the trails.

Celebrate Tourism Week! Opening for the Summer Season June 8th

Dine . Stay . Spa . Hike . Bike Date Night Mondays All Summer! Bring your partner up for a romantic dinner! Get 2 entrées, 2 glasses of bubbly and an appetizer to share. Just $89 per couple

Wine Tasting Wednesdays All Summer! 5 course tasting menu perfectly paired with 5 wines from our diverse cellar. $99 per person Bear Lodge Restaurant Hours – Open 11 – 8 from June 8th to Sept 3rd. 11 – 5 from Sept 4th – Oct 7th. Avoid disappointment - call ahead to inquire about reservations and availability. Check our website for spa specials, guided hiking, hours of operation and accommodation packages.

1.250.423.3700 Follow: @islandlakelodge

The Free Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018 Page B11

Photos: Mike McPhee

Island Lake Lodge Wins 2018 Employees First Award By Phil McLachlan Editor The Free Press Island Lake Lodge was recently honoured with an award that placed them among the best employers in the province of B.C. The lodge, famous for its stunning scenery, world class food and accommodation, cat skiing, mountain biking and hiking activities, was announced as the winner of the 2018 Employees First Award, presented by go2HR as a part of the 2018 Tourism Industry Awards. The Employees First Award recognizes a British Columbia tourism industry employer who has, “upheld high standards of excellence in human resources and people management practices.” Island Lodge management said they were incredibly honoured to win this prestigious award. Island Lake Lodge director of sales and marketing, Mike McPhee said that their staff are very important to the overall success of the company. “They are the very foundation of the brand and business and their stories are integrated into the overall story of the company,” he said. “We have striven to be a modern employer with an offering of unique benefits, perks, flexibility, continual training, education and collaborative atmosphere.” Island Lake Lodge’s vision and values revolve around providing a safe workplace and a collaborate environment. Some of these include extensive on-boarding training

at the beginning of each season, which covers occupational health and safety, social media, guest services and more. Additionally, the lodge provides ongoing support for professional development, such as First Aid, WHMIS, avalanche training, Red Seal Chef training, and Serving It Right. At the end of each week, staff come together for a weekly staff recognition meeting, and staff also meet when the season starts to shift for their end-of-season awards that include peer recognition. Working at Island Lake also provides employees with company perks and benefits including swag giveaways, staff meals, shuttles to work, cat skiing trips, as well as photo contests. With such a dedicated focus on employee training and satisfaction, Island Lake Lodge has seen positive results as their retention rate steadily climbed over the years, said go2HR in a release. In 2017, 90 per cent of staff had returned for the season. If you search for Island Lake Lodge on TripAdvisor, you’ll find them in the number one slot for speciality lodging in Fernie, with a certificate of excellence attached to their name. “Island Lake Lodge’s inclusive, team-oriented culture contributes to a high level of employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to high levels of guest satisfaction,” said go2HR CEO Arlene Keis. “By providing a work environment that employees can grow, thrive, and take pride in, Island Lake puts their employees first and boasts an impressive retention rate, setting a fine example for our industry as an employer. “We congratulate the Island lake Lodge team on their achievements.”

Page B12 Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Free Press

Why Camping Provides the Best Travel Experience By Katie Hamar Sales & Event Coordinator Island Lake Lodge When the travel bug hits, we oftentimes resort to the well-worn path of hotels and rentals. Think outside the box of four walls and consider camping for your next trip! Following are ten reasons why camping provides the best travel experience: 1) Low Cost Camping can save you a ton of money compared to other overnight options away from home. Mount Fernie Provincial Park charges $30 per night for their 43 car-accessible sites. Fernie RV Resort has a variety of sites; from tent sites to Riverside pull-throughs ranging in price depending on type of site, length of stay, and weekend or midweek. Glacier National Park near Kalispell, Montana has numerous campgrounds that charge between $10-$23 USD per night. 2) Connection There may not be Wi-Fi but you are sure to find a better connection. Off the beaten path, you’ll find you gain a different perspective; a special insight into a new place and culture you may have missed otherwise. Literally without walls, you may also find you form relationships more easily with those staying nearby, or become closer with those you came with. A shared love of camping can bring people together. 3) Self-Sufficiency How convenient to know that wherever you go, you will have a place to lay your head for the night because you brought it with you. A sense of empowerment comes from relying on yourself for shelter, food and warmth. Planning and problem-solving allows for personal growth. 4) Nature Appreciation One of the main reasons we camp is to immerse ourselves in nature. Seeing the natural beauty of forest, lakes, mountains and fields without the distractions of everyday life makes you appreciate the amazing world we live in. Children who grow up camping are more likely to enjoy it as an adult with a deeply rooted respect and gratitude for the natural world. 5) Health Benefits Fresh air can lower blood pressure, aid digestion and boost your immune system. Sunshine provides vitamin D which helps strengthen bones. Ever notice how you sleep

better while camping? Sleep quality is imperative to body function efficiency. Getting into a good sleep rhythm while camping can help you maintain it when you go home. The simplicity of camping via removal from technologies and everyday stresses is beneficial to reducing anxiety and depression. For numerous reasons, camping in nature is beneficial to your physical and emotional health. 6) Simplicity You wake up to the sound of birds and waves lapping on shore. Light the fire or stove to boil water for coffee as the early morning sun rays play on the water. Today’s to-do list: relax, eat, have fun, breathe. When you’re camping, you’ll find fewer distractions from what’s important. 7) Big Rewards Even When Short on Resources Need a change of scenery but don’t have the time or resources for a big trip? Go camping! It’s amazing how you really feel like you’re getting away from it all even when you’re half an hour from home. Camping is so different from everyday life that you will find you’re recharged even if you only go for one night. 8) Variety You’ve seen one hotel room, you’ve seen a thousand hotel rooms. How much variety do you find from hotel to hotel, really? There’s a bed, there’s a bathroom, there’s a lamp. With campsites, however, the details of your site are enough to burn a mental photograph and create fond memories for years to come. You’ll always remember the time you scored the spot on the cliff overlooking the water, or when you were a kid and your parents would request the spot next to the playground. 9) Adventure The unknown aspect of camping is exciting. Will you see wild animals or discover a new favourite hiking trail? Is it going to rain and you’ll have to scramble for your things and huddle in the tent playing cards? Maybe it’s a first-come-first-serve campground and you’re trying to get a spot. Camping is different from the norm and unfamiliarity can be fun. 10) Camping Food S’mores, banana boats, campfire-roasted hot dogs, breakfast hash in a cast iron skillet. Combined with fresh air for the most satisfying meals ever. When planning your summer trip, choosing camping will result in money saved, closer relationships, lessons learned and new perspectives. You’ll come home relaxed and grateful for the time you’ve spent outside. Here’s to long summer days, crackly campfires and leak-proof tents. Happy camping!

Don’t miss the BEST day of your summer!

the river or the river

Wild Mild

Fernie Golf Club 1918 - 2018

1.888.423.7226 or 250-423.7226

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Special Features - Celebrating Tourism 2018  


Special Features - Celebrating Tourism 2018