Sunday April 20, 2014

Tourism not yet on KGHM agenda

Ajax propoents not doing study on impact but willing to work with Tourism Kamloops

Lee Morris

KGHM-Ajax has not yet looked at the impact its proposed gold and copper mine in Kamloops would have on the tourism industry.

But the company would be willing to sit down with Tourism Kamloops and discuss how it could be part of such a study, said KGHM community relations specialist Robin Bartlett.

“We’re not undergoing a specific study for that,” she said Monday.

“We haven’t been looking at it specifically now because we’re working on the environmental assessment.”

More than a year ago, Tourism Kamloops executive director Lee Morris asked KGHM-Ajax officials to do research on the proposed mine’s impact on the region’s hospitality industry. They said they would look at the website links she provided, and she has heard nothing since.

Morris said while her agency is conducting a survey in 2014 to look at perceptions of Kamloops, the mine is not included. Nor is it part of Tourism Kamloops’s plans to take on that study and cost.

“We have suggested to KGHM that some research needs to be done, we would hope that they would undertake, on the questions of impact and perception as it relates to tourism. We’ve given them links of what could be done for that.

“They’ve said they will look at that,” she said.

There has been research done on resource extraction and impacts on viewscapes and tourism for Clayoquot Sound and Knight Inlet, Morris said.

“It’s all on Destination B.C.’s site as research they have done.”

Bartlett said the current team hasn’t met with Morris but would be willing to do so. They are in the middle of the environmental study for the project.

“We’d be happy to sit down with her and talk about where we could take part in something like that,” she said.

Venture Kamloops is looking at possibly doing a study on industry and its impacts on the community, she noted. The company might be looking at tourism under the socio-economic side of its environmental assessment.

Outside of the Ajax mine proposal, Morris said Kamloops is seeing an increase in families coming here for a range of activities, including casual mountain biking.

Golf is doing well, and sport/tournament tourism is thriving.

On top of all that, the overseas tourist markets are showing signs of rebound and that means more visitors for Kamloops, particularly as a destination between Vancouver and the Rocky mountains, she said.

“The European market, generally, saw a bit of rebound. The Japanese market has shown a rebound. And some of the U.S. markets as well,” she said.

“We’re fortunate we have a diverse tourism economy here. But also remember when we talk about growth and success, we also benefit from growth in the corporate market.”

Morris expects 2014 to be a good year for tourism. She and her team are finalizing details for their marketing campaign, which they will launch in a few weeks.

“We’re refreshing our brand, looking at it again after a number of years of using this brand. The biggest piece is going back to the consumers we talk to and find out what their changes in perception are in terms of who and what Kamloops is,” she said.

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