You have to spend money to make money

By David F. Rooney

With business — and tourism — “down across the board,” more needs to be done to market Revelstoke to the outside world, says Chamber of Commerce President Don Teuton.

“My gut feeling is that business is down across the board in Revelstoke, tourism is down this winter, people are staying shorter periods of time and people are very rate-conscious — they’re looking for deals,” he said in an interview.

That’s fair enough but that make it a challenge for Revelstoke. The community has a lot going for it: the ski resort is a big draw, it has been building a high profile with potential visitors, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s decision to remain open this summer should help strengthen summer tourism.

But all of that combined means the Chamber must continue working with other major players such as the Revelstoke Accommodation Association, RMR and the City to ensure that they are all on the same page when it comes to marketing, said Teuton who, with his wife Susan, owns Inn on the River.

“I’m excited,” said Teuton who firmly believes that if you want to make money you have to spend money. “We have a good board of directors and we definitely want to make a difference and work with all the different entities — RAA, RMR and the City — to promote tourism and to promote small businesses and see the local economy grow. It’s going to take a collective effort to market Revelstoke.

“If there are people out there doing their own thing and sending mixed messages then it won’t help any of us. We can all have different ideas and respect those ideas but we… have to start down a collective path. ”

The Chamber is currently in negotiation with the Canadian Avalanche Society regarding a new summer lease for the Visitor Information Centre and while it may reopen there, the long-term future calls for a permanent, full-time VIC in the downtown core of the city.

That may seem counter-intuitive to some people. After all, there are about four million vehicles passing us on the Trans-Canada Highway. Why not have a VIC there and take advantage of all that traffic?

“Even if it’s a beautiful VIC they’re not getting a sense of downtown,” Teuton said. “It still just the highway. So many people drive by and never get downtown. Having the mountain open will help to get people stop and hopefully stay. Sky Trek has done a great job, too, and if we can get more activities going on in town we’ll really give people a reason to stay.”

He also said new signage, banners, flags and other simple tools could help bring more of that TCH traffic to the downtown core, which is one of Revelstoke’s most important charms.