On Wednesday, September 10, Tourism Rossland held their Annual General Meeting at the Rock Cut. Presenting their work over the last year, Deanne Steven, Executive Director, was notably excited about the successes Tourism Rossland had during the 2013-2014 season.
Noting that Tourism Rossland works for all stakeholders in the community and that tourism is the biggest employer in Rossland, Deanne says “We partner with many different organizations to ensure we do not duplicate, but instead collaborate with everyone.” This collaboration resulted in increased funding from other groups, such as the near doubling of Resort Municipality Initiative funding from $28,724 to $56,917.
Topping last year for their biggest success was the Rossland Free Ride Bus. With nearly 19,000 passengers taking advantage of the bus, locals and tourists alike were able to utilize the free transportation to and from the hill. Benefits ranged from allowing tourists access to downtown businesses, assisting employees to and from work and providing locals an alternative means of transportation. Although there are some funding issues which need to be worked out and secured, Tourism Rossland is confident that the Free Ride Bus will run again for the 2014-2015 winter season.
Continuing on successes, Tourism Rossland was awarded the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Award for best Community Tourism Initiative. Partnering with Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, the two organizations worked together to put together and promote the Ski Town Throwdown competition — a competition put on by Powder Magazine.
Rossland also earned the distinction of being “the most Google photo toured community in the world.” Cost shared through Kootenay Rockies, Tourism Rossland hired a Google accredited photographer to take photos of 43 of Rossland’s local businesses. This has created the opportunity to do a virtual walk through of the business in Rossland and has increased Google ratings when searching for the community allowing for Rossland to show up higher in the rankings when individuals are searching for information on Rossland.
Internally, Tourism Rossland was required to amend some of their bylaws; including updating them to be inline with changes that had occurred to the BC Society Act and allowing for the opportunity for electronic voting amongst directors. The main bylaw change came to amending the make-up of the Board of Directors and allowing for increased representation amongst stakeholders in the community. With 14 seats on the Board, 4 are dedicated to non-profits – a fact that Deanne clearly emphasized is revolutionary amongst the Destination Marketing Organizations in the province. Board representation now allows for one spot each for the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society and Black Jack, formerly a shared seat, and one spot each for the Rossland Museum and the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture, also formerly shared. Increasing representation amongst the business owners, 2 spots were developed for the restaurant and retail sectors, welcoming both the Alpine Grind and Mountain Nugget Chocolate Company. Speaking with Trish Dyer, owner of Mountain Nugget Chocolate, “I love Deanne and what Tourism Rossland has done for the community. I’m happy to provide a voice and be a part of the contribution. Deanne is amazing and a huge reason why I chose to join the Board”.
Looking forward to 2014-2015, Deanne is most excited about the Spokane Shuttle Bus (which will be running 7 days a week), motivated to increase the Free Ride Bus passenger usage to over 19,000, and pleased about the upcoming Red Mountain Heritage plaques which will tell the story of the mountain.
For more information on Tourism Rossland, please visit www.tourismrossland.com and be sure to check out the nine videos that were developed over the summer on their YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/deannesteven.