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

Vandalism closes public washrooms in Penticton’s Okanagan Lake Park indefinitely

A post by the city’s Facebook said the damage is ‘quite extensive’

Three-vehicle collision at Railway St. and Duncan Ave. puts one in hospital

The Penticton RCMP are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the collision

City releases tips and tricks to stay safe over holiday season

Included below is a list of revised garbage and recycling days, and rules for curbside collection

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

Penticton RCMP warn of new ‘porting’ scam that puts internet banking, online accounts at risk

Two-factor verification has been the go-to way to keep online accounts secure

Video: Magicians and Bubble Wonders highlight Penticton Shriners Variety Show

The annual fundraiser filled the Cleland Community Theatre on Sunday.

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Pawsative Pups: Help your dog love their crate

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Spark Joy: The art of giving and receiving

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Coldstream surf shop welcomes winter with paddle

Winter Chill event Saturday, Dec. 21, on Kal Lake is ‘food’-raiser for food bank

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by BB gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Most Read