While tourism is down in comparison to last year, as was expected due to COVID-19, Tourism Golden is optimistic about the summer now starting to welcome visitors as a part of Phase 3 of the Restart B.C. plan.
While Tourism Golden held off on any marketing until Phase 3 and based most of their social media messaging on holding off on travel, they are now reaching out to close markets in B.C. and Alberta welcoming them back.
“We’re working hard to let people know we’re on the eastern side of B.C., people in the Lower Mainland who may not normally make it out here,” said Andy Brown, of Tourism Golden.
“We live in a stunning part of the province that everyone should experience and we’re hoping to see more and more people from western B.C. come.”
The opening of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has helped tourism locally, with Brown saying the resort is doing far better than was originally expected this summer.
With oversees travel still up in the air and the U.S border closed until the end of August, Brown says that tourism in Golden will take a hit, but he’s hoping that Canadians will step up and decide to explore their own country this summer.
He is hopeful given the opportunity to explore domestically, Golden will gain new Canadian tourists who will continue to come back in years to come.
“We have an amazing country from coast to coast to coast and we’re really lucky to have our own little slice of it that’s so beautiful,” he said.
While Tourism Golden is concentrating their marketing on bringing in more domestic tourists, Brown also says they’re working on putting together a list of resources for local businesses and travellers alike to use when they come to town.
Available on the Tourism Golden website, tourists will be able to see all the recommendations made by the provincial health authorities, as well as which businesses are open and closed, or which are on limited hours.
“Our main focus right now is letting people know that businesses in town are reopened and they’re welcoming people back,” said Brown.
He also addressed concerns from out-of-province visitors about their cars being targeted for vandalism due to their license plates.
“We reach out the RCMP and no vandalism was reported to them in Golden, and I haven’t heard of any reports since that initial story,” said Brown.
“If cursive writing on a stick note in pink gel pen is the worst that’s happening in Golden during the height of the pandemic when anxieties were high, that just shows how polite the community is.”
Brown says it’s the people of Golden who make it a desirable tourist destination for those who enjoy the outdoors.
“Every visitor becomes a short-term resident, because they’re the people who like to do the things that people move here to do,” said Brown.
While residents might be concerned about an influx of tourists coming to the community, Brown says that it’s been a gentle increase, which makes it easier to manage and prepare for.
He also says that Tourism Golden is working on promoting the idea that visitors must be respectful of social distancing.
Out-of- province visitors are encouraged to “act like British Columbians” while they’re here, in order to continue to manage the curve of COVID-19.
As far as tourist destinations goes, Brown says the wide open spaces in Golden are conducive to social distancing and people tend to come here for outdoor activities anyways.