Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce board president Peter Rotzetter presents a copy of the concept design report for the planned Armstrong to Sicamous rail trail corridor to federal Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Mélanie Joly Thursday at Fairways Bistro in Armstrong. Joly announced a new marketing strategy which included available funds for projects like the rail trail. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Federal tourism minister announces new national strategy in Armstrong

Mélanie Joly announced funding available for rural communities and other parts of the new strategy

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz had a great deal for federal Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly in Armstrong Thursday.

The Armstrong to Sicamous rail trail corridor project needs money, said Rysz. The feds have announced a new marketing strategy – which is what brought Joly to the North Okanagan and Fairways Bistro at the Royal York Golf Course – which includes money, said Joly.

“It’s (rail trail) a great project, worth being studied,” said Joly to a sold-out crowd at the event hosted by the Armstrong Spallumcheen and Greater Vernon chambers of commerce. She was presented with a concept design report of the rail trail corridor by Armstrong Spallumcheen chamber board president Peter Rotzetter.

See: North Okanagan chambers to host federal tourism minister

“It shows the power of tourism. By adding tourism, now, to our key infrastructure priorities, we can now fund these projects and these can drive local economies.”

Joly, whose portfolio includes official languages and La Francophonie, announced the government’s new marketing strategy, which includes creating 54,000 new jobs by 2025 across the country; increasing revenues by 25 per cent, or $128 billion in the economy by 2025; increasing, by one million, the number of visitors that come to Canada during winter and shoulder season; and getting international visitors out of Canada’s three biggest cities – Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver – and into regions like the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

“This is a very ambitious strategy but we’re confident we can do that,” said Joly.

Ottawa has launched a new federal Canadian Experiences Fund, where $60 million is available over two years. The idea is to support five types of products or experiences that businesses and not-for-profit groups can develop in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

See: Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

That includes any products or experiences aligned with winter and shoulder season; what can be done during that time of year to drive visitors to the area.

The Armstrong to Sicamous rail trail corridor would fit under remote and rural tourism, another of the products/experiences eligible for federal funding.

“Remote and rural tourism is obviously relevant to this region,” said Joly. “We’ve seen what tourism has done here, and by supporting more of these beautiful local gems, we’ll help grow the tourism sector.”

Everything in line with Indigenous tourism is available for funding, and Joly announced $2.5 million in funding for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help Indigenous people and groups develop products and experiences to help with tourism.

“We know there’s fantastic growth, 17 per cent growth, in Indigenous tourism,” said Joly. “One-third of Chinese people coming to Canada seek an Indigenous tourism experience. Fifty per cent of German people want an Indigenous tourism experience, and so do two-thirds of visitors from France.”

Also eligible for funding is LGBTQ tourism, a community, said Joly, that travels “four-to-six-times per year,” and, “if there’s a place the LGBTQ community can feel safe, it’s obviously here (Canada).”

Saving the best for last, said Joly, was funding available for culinary tourism, or farm to table tourism, something totally relevant to the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

“We can support our farmers’ markets and want to get international visitors to go see them,” said Joly. “We can support food festivals that become an event where people can discover the great local food and products. What are we doing for wineries and cideries that people can go and discover.”

Joly also said in order for Ottawa to help create destinations in Canada, they need to attract more private investments, and said the Liberals have finally added tourism to the top of government priorities.

“Tourism is not at the children’s table anymore, we’re finally at the adult table,” said Joly. “All the departments within government will look at not only the issues within the tourism sector but opportunities as well.”

The infusion of federal funding and renewed national focus on tourism is welcome news to the Armstrong Spallumcheen and Greater Vernon chambers of commerce.

“We thank Minister Joly for taking the time to stop in our region and it was exciting to learn more about the recently announced federal tourism strategy,” said Rotzetter.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Logging truck spill cleared east of Lumby

Accident happened between McInnes Road and Rawlings Lake Road

Community comes together for Easter Seals Camp Winfield

On June 15, the community of Lake Country came out to help raise funds for Easter Seals Camp Winfield

PHOTOS: Vernon Community Music School hosts “Hootenanny Hoedown”

The music school hosted their annual year-end country fair on June 7

Dancing with Shuswap Stars attracts Rust Valley Restorers

TV show stars join quest to hone some fancy footwork

Armstrong gathering for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Memorial Park gathering on June 22 will honour women with speakers and roundtable discussions

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Restrictive policies affecting labour mobility for care aides in B.C.

‘I had to take two competency exams and pay over $1,400,’ said an Okanagan care aide

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Emerging artists given chance at Shuswap’s Roots Blues Festival

Chosen participants can perform two 40-minute sets on the Wednesday or Thursday night, and more.

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Officials remain optimistic in the face of closure of Shuswap’s Waterway Houseboats

Sicamous mayor and chamber of commerce concerned for staff who lost jobs

A Kelowna medical research company needs adults with autism spectrum disorder for a study

Three-hundred-fifty patients worldwide will participate in the study

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Most Read