By David F. Rooney
The Chamber of Commerce is asking its members to lobby City Council over the as-yet-unresolved tourism coordinator funding issue.
“Council did not put forward a motion to re-initiate funding (for the tourism coordinator’s position) at their last meeting,” Chamber President Brydon Roe said at the Chamber’s annual general meeting last Wednesday.
“We’re asking for all our members to call Councillors and ask the City to re-initiate the tourism coordinator funding.”
The Chamber and those businesses that rely on tourism for all or much of their income are deeply concerned by the absence of a funding envelope for the tourism coordinator’s position in the City’s as-yet-unpassed 2011-2015 Financial Plan. That position has been jointly funded by the City and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District through the Economic Opportunities Fund for the past 10 years. However, the funding was never intended to be permanent. That fact was overlooked and nothing has been done by the Chamber or Council to remedy the situation. Consequently, the termination of funding sent ripples of shock and consternation through the business community.
The tourism coordinator is responsible for tourism development and marketing in all media, including the web. To give you some idea of how important that is, consider the following statistics:
In 2010, the Chamber spent $92,532 on tourism marketing, including $45,337 for advertising and marketing, $1,483 for Internet services, $2,856 for shows, $11,553 for travel and marketing, $3,233 for renting the Avalanche Centre’s ground floor for the Grizzly Plaza Visitor Centre and $28,070 for the Vacation Guide.
In 2009, the Chamber spent $97,864 on tourism marketing, including $45,043 for advertising and marketing, $10,604 for Internet services (mostly web design), $6985 for travel and marketing, $3,024 for renting space in the Avalanche Centre and $32,208 for the Vacation Guide.
The tourism coordinator is responsible for much of this and was paid a paltry $30,000 in 2010.
A last-minute lobbying campaign, it is hoped, could bear some fruit.
Executive Director John Devitt said that the tourism coordinator’s position aside, 2010 was a decent year for the Chamber.
“We had a really good year in a lot of ways,” he said, adding that the New Moon Festival was a hit, the Chamber’s annual banquet drew its highest number of guests ever — 220 — and plans for a new Visitor’s Centre are proceeding with ground breaking expected this summer.
Over all, the Chamber realized revenues of $374,834 in 2010 and had expenses totalling $354,425, leaving it a surplus of $20,409.