The mild climate and the incredible wilderness in the Sooke region is bringing tourists to the area from the Northwest United States, across British Columbia and Alberta. Knowing this, the Sooke Region Tourism Association (SRTA) is focussing their marketing efforts in those geographical areas.
“Tourism is the third largest industry in Canada,” said SRTA president Jonathan Heerema. “The economic impact this can have on this country is massive, especially in this community. We have a great tourism product.”
Tourism Victoria’s Paul Nursey stated at the SRTA Annual General Meeting that just a one per cent increase in tourism nationally would generate an eventual return of $817-million once all other follow up financial contacts are worked through. He stressed downturns, significant growth and uncertainty in the tourism sector but stated SRTA memberships make sense and pooling resources works.
Heerema said people come here because they can enjoy the outdoors and be pampered indoors.
Last year, SRTA launched a “You Won’t Be Sorry” video/radio campaign (http://youwontbesorry.com/) which targeted the I-5 corridor between Washington and Oregon. SRTA joined forces with Blackball Ferries, Tofino and Nanaimo to leverage the Sooke region into greater prominence.
“We had a fantastic response,” said Heerema, “the tourism operators said they saw the commercials. There is so much potential there.”
SRTA, said Heerema, is “solely focused on our mandate to bring tourist in from out of town.”
A strong focus on marketing the Sooke region in Alberta is one of this year’s initiatives. SRTA is building a marketing infrastructure, website updates, pop-up banners, new photographs taken by TJ Watt, they are refining the flat map and visitor guide as well as bringing a new perspective to their efforts. Social media will also play an increasing important role and will try to do something fun to reach every demographic.
SRTA has about 40 members and growth is evident each year. Heerema said they have a good board of professionals, committed members with a wealth of knowledge who work together really well.
SRTA receives $20,000/year from the District of Sooke in a Fee for Service grant.
For more information on the Sooke Region Tourism Association go to: www.sooke-portrenfrew.com/ or call Judi at 778-425-2450.