First Published on Aug 3, 2016 Written by Tourism Bowen Island
Now having completed Tourism Bowen’s first full year as a registered non-profit society, we are doing some navel-gazing and planning for next year! We invite you to join us on Tuesday August 16, 4:30 – 6 PM, for a little summer socializing and our annual general meeting. Refreshments will be served. We’ll share some of our news and recent activities and would love to hear how your summer is going. Here’s a bit of a snapshot of our first year.
We have received amazing support from the Province’s DestinationBC …. Awarding us Official Status as a Visitor Centre for the cottage on Cardena Road. Tourism Bowen agreed to be the operators for 2016 as the Chamber of Commerce, years ago, operated an Info Centre out of this site which was subsequently run by the Bowen Island Arts Council the past few years. Visitor Centre status has afforded us the luxury of some amazing training for our staff, a budget that has allowed us to upgrade the facility and to cover some of our overheads and to increase the staffing so we can have a staff member greeting visitors as they walk off the ferry.
Also, DestinationBC has a wonderful young lady, Heather McGillivray who is responsible for media relations for the Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Region. She has been so amazingly supportive and her work has resulted in us posting over a dozen articles about Bowen on our www.tourismbowenisland.com website. Never before have we had so much coverage by travel writers. It seems like we are posting a new article almost weekly! Reading through the stories makes one so very proud of our ‘awful island’.
Speaking of media coverage, whether we deserved it or not, so many other articles gave credit to Tourism Bowen for the new Tourism Brand, “tell your friends it’s awful here”. This resulted in well over $150,000 in ‘free’ press (aka Earned Media) from all across Canada, into the USA and bloggers from around the world were posting and re-tweeting links to the brand. A huge thank you to the Economic Development Committee’s Branding Committee and to islander, Chris Staples from Rethink for coming up with such an amazing catch-phrase. The Economic Development Committee and Rethink will be doing the OFFICAL LAUNCH of the ‘Bowen Brand’ at Bowfest. Come by the booth and spin the wheel to win some amazing prizes!
Tourism Bowen is a 100% volunteer run organization. There is a handful of people who have worked diligently on behalf of all of the B&B’s, vacation rentals, pubs, restaurants and shops on the island who deserve to be recognized. Our Vice President Maureen Sawasy (The Undercurrent), Treasurer Alison Morse (representing the Bowen Golf Course), Basia Lieske (Bowen Island Events), Jacqueline Massey (Bowen Island Arts Council), Glenn Cormier (Bowen Pub .. who hosts coffee and meeting space for us monthly) and ex-secretary Jody Lorenz (Bowen Island Tours) who recently became our Visitor Centre Supervisor. Also attending all of our meetings is the amazing Denise Lawson of Windshift Design who has done remarkable things with our website.
Speaking of our website, our volume of ‘hits’ has risen over 75% since that “awful” presentation to Council. We hope you are using the EVENTS page as your ‘go-to’ page to find out what is happening on our island. We would love you to link our www.tourismbowenisland.com on your website. It is a member-driven site that offers many options for coverage. It is one of the most active sites on the island and the perfect place for you to link to and join. There is a ‘membership’ icon at the top-left of the home page for Membership. Click on that and find out all of the ways you, too, can be part of our island’s promotion.
Now the sales pitch. On Tuesday August 16 we will be holding our first annual meeting at the Visitor Centre, 432 Cardena, from 4:30 to 7pm. It’s going to be a drop-in affair with a little business thrown in for legality purposes. We need you, not just to attend but to become involved. When we were the Chamber, we had over 120 members. Right now Tourism Bowen has only about 30. The Board is volunteer. We have one part-time staff member, 3 part-time students for the summer and a couple of awesome islanders who volunteer as Bowen Ambassadors once or twice a month. We need board members from all aspects of the business community…. restaurants, shops, accommodation, etc etc. We have the financial support of the municipality, DestinationBC and we were even the recipient of a grant from our MLA Jordan Sturdy. Now we need the support from the island.
Remember, every Bowen Islander promotes tourism year round. Every time you invite a mainlander or an international friend or relative to the island, you are welcoming a tourist to the island. Every dollar spent by you and those visitors while they are here gets circulated at least three times through the island’s economy.
We all know it’s NOT really awful here… it’s just our little bit of heaven we love to share with the rest of the world.