Selkirk and District Chamber of Commerce tourism committee member Fraser Stewart takes notes the Red River North Tourism stakeholders presentation Dec. 3. (BROOK JONES/SELKIRK JOURNAL/QMI AGENCY)
The Selkirk and District Chamber of Commerce wants the various communities in the Tri-S area to become a major destination as tourists visit the Red River corridor north of Winnipeg.
The local chamber of commerce hosted a Red River North Tourism stakeholders session Dec. 3 at the banquet hall of the Selkirk Recreation Complex.
The session which included tourism stakeholders from across the Tri-S area was designed as an opportunity to bring these stakeholders together to update them with the vision that was developed by the local chamber of commerce when they established their Tourism Development Committee this past February.
The all day event featured a morning session in which 46 people attended a presentation by Julie Turenne-Maynard, executive director for Rivers West Vision 2030 Master Plan. Twenty-three people attended the afternoon session which included a Red River North Tourism update by Selkirk city councillor Kelly Cook, a Tourism Development Committee update by committee chairperson Laurel Sarginson, and a goal setting workshop by Gail McDonald from the Interlake Tourism Association.
“We developed a list of priorities and first actions,” said Sarginson. “The Red River is central to our tourism. We should be doing a long range plan for the area, central around the Red River.”
Sarginson also indicated during his update on the chamber’s tourism committee that the committee wanted to partner with Red River North Tourism as they have more resources than the chamber of commerce.
“A welcome strategy creates a welcome atmosphere in all of our areas so when tourists come they will be well served,” noted Sarginson.
During the past 10 months the tourism committee also identified regional branding and regional signage as major issues the Tri-S area needs to look at.
“With the goal of getting something uniform going but nothing has happened on that yet,” exclaimed Sarginson. “We’re trying to have tourism on the radars of municipal councils.”
According to McDonald, tourism in Manitoba has been recognized as an economic driver for rural areas and a benefit for all rural areas.
McDonald also told those in attendance at the stakeholders session that Red River North Tourism will one day be classified as a destination market organization.
“One that focuses on a particular destination is recognized by the (provincial) government on a different level,” said McDonald.
She says tourists are no longer just wanting to go for a walk in the designated tourist area but they are rather looking for more than that, such as being a part of the product and being a part of the experience.
Fraser Stewart is not only a member of the Selkirk and District Chamber of Commerce he is also a member of the Tourism Development Committee and passionate about local history and historical sites in the Tri-S area.
“I think we are going to come up with a good plan with a good foundation for forward looking projects,” noted Stewart. “There is one area that we have lots of - historic treasurers in this community.
He says it’s important for the Tri-S area to provide some of the local colour of heritage and historical sites to the tourists.