Business

City hires business association to steer new Langley City Tourism

<p>Teri James, head of the Downtown Langley Business Association, will oversee the new Tourism Langley City services. (Langley Advance files)</p> -

Teri James, head of the Downtown Langley Business Association, will oversee the new Tourism Langley City services. (Langley Advance files)

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Langley City is going it alone when it comes to tourism promotion. And as of today, council has put the DLBA at the helm of this new tourism entity.

Following a bidding process, the City has hired the Downtown Langley Business Association (DLBA) to oversee this new tourism service, announced Mayor Ted Schaffer.

The expectation is that Tourism Langley City will be operational by the new year.

"The DLBA has been a positive force for the City, and I look forward in seeing that carry over into tourism services," Schaffer said.

At the beginning of the summer, City council announced it was leaving Tourism Langley after almost 10 years as a major stakeholder with the provincially sanctioned tourism-destination agency.

Tourism Langley was initially shared by both the City and the Township, operated at arms length using primarily taxes collected from local hotels plus some money from each of the municipalities.

Almost a year ago now, the internal structure and operation of the agency was called into question.

At that time, Township council considered creating its own tourism agency, with no City involvement. But instead, the Township ultimately came back with a list of demands for revised operating that Schaffer previously stated was unacceptable for the City.

In turn, the City stepped back to conduct its own review.

Schaffer then made it public at the end of June that the City would be severing ties with Tourism Langley.

The mayor emphasized that this decision was made after consulting with City tourism accommodation service providers.

After a request for bids was put out, DLBA was selected, and chair Carole Ward is enthusiastic about the future.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the Downtown Langley Business Association," she said.

"We expect there to be great synergy having the business sector and tourism sector work together under the same umbrella, and we are looking forward to what the future brings with this first-of-its-kind partnership," Ward added.

DLBA executive director Teri James was formerly chair of Tourism Langley, but resigned earlier this year after six years on the board and a year-and-a-half at the helm.

While she expects there will be questions about her organization taking over, she doesn't believe there will be any controversy or "push back."

"None of this had even been discussed at that point," she said, referring to the when the City made its decision to break away.

A separate operation under the DLBA umbrella

The new Tourism Langley City entity will run under the DLBA umbrella, James explained.

The only change to the infrastructure of the DLBA will be the mandatory appointment of a board member representing one of the six hotels or motels within the City.

James said the City has entered into a one-year contract, providing time for the DLBA time to hire a manager, set up an office, develop a website, and formulate a business plan that can carry the new organization forward.

James said she's ready to go with the hiring process to find a full-time manager for Tourism Langley City, immediately.

"It will have its own identity. It will have its own separate finances. It will have its own manager," she said. "And our plan and goal is to be up and fully operations by January 2018."

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