Tourism Kimberley has given their annual update to Kimberley City Council, with findings showing that 2017 was a busy year for tourism, however a shortage in accommodations may pose a challenge for that trend to continue.
Jesse Ferguson, Executive Director of Tourism Kimberley says that Tourism Kimberley receives $380,000 in revenue each year, with $300,000 of that going directly back to marketing. He adds that $30,000 goes towards wages and $10,000 goes towards administration fees.
“Right now our focus is marketing Kimberley to the rest of the world,” said Ferguson. “The biggest question is how many people can we get in town overnight.”
He adds that 2017 was one of the best years for tourism, despite factors such as forest fires and other environmental struggles.
“We’re one of the best growth municipalities,” said Ferguson. “We had many sellouts this year, with above 90 per cent occupancy as a whole. The problem we’re seeing is a lack of available rooms.”
He adds that the ski hill and golf courses continue to draw in a lot of tourism, and the addition of WestJet flights to Cranbrook will allow for a better reach in tourists.
“We’re ready to capitalize on the fact that West Jet is now flying to Cranbrook,” he said. “There are already quite a few people taking advantage of that new service.”
He says that Tourism Kimberley will also continue to work with RCR and Kimberley Alpine Resort with regards to booking the Conference Centre.
“We’ll work closely with RCR for different opportunities there, especially during the off-season and during the week,” said Ferguson.
The Conference Centre can bring in upwards of 500 people for different events, which is good news for all tourism sectors including accommodations and food and beverage.
“Kimberley is a healthy tourism destination,” Ferguson said. “We simply don’t have enough infrastructure when it comes to accommodations. We may have to start charging more for rooms…
“We also want to ensure that people who come and stay the night aren’t just weekend warriors. We need to make it attractive for those who can come mid-week as well.”
One strategy, Ferguson says, is to continue marketing Kimberley as a trail destination.
“”We’re starting to really become known as a trail destination both nationally and internationally,” he said. “Not just for mountain biking but for hiking, walking and running as well.”
He says that the addition of the new Bootleg Trail Network has garnered a lot of attention, adding to the attractiveness of Kimberley’s trails.
“Bootleg is a huge addition, with people from Alberta, Washington, Idaho coming to ride them. At any given time there are 40 cars in the parking lot at the entrance to the trails,” he said. “The big thing is that the trails have to remain attractive which puts more of a strain on maintenance. There needs to be conscious and continuous maintenance of our beautiful trails.”