By Jesse Willicome
The hidden gem of the Kootenays, that scenic route weaving along forests, rivers, and lakes, between orchards and artisans’ shops, connecting people and communities from Yahk to Riondel is a secret no more. Whether it’s popping into North Woven Broom to purchase one of Luke Lewis ’one-of-a-kind creations, enjoying a vino and vista of the Creston Valley from SkimmerhornWinery’s deck, or hiking along Kootenay Lake or into the Purcell range, the route has caught the attention of an increasing number of visitors.
Locals look on curiously as RVs pass by with out-of-province licence plates or offer “out-of-towners” friendly directions to farmers’ markets, golf courses, or our favourite beach spots. Meanwhile, new eateries like Red’s Bakery in Crawford Bay or the Yahk Mountain Café have popped up to provide food and snacks to famished kids and grateful parents. Some visitors have never been before, some come back annually to see friends and family, and some return to make this place home.
In 2018, The Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Route tourism campaign launched to provide an opportunity for almost 100 local businesses, organizations, and attractions along the route like the Yahk Soap Company to collaboratively showcase their wares to visitors. “We felt being a part of the CVKL Route Tourism Campaign was essential for us as business owners in the Creston Valley,” says co-owner and operator Tammy Bessant, going on to note “working together with other businesses to promote the area and each other makes us all successful.”
Most importantly the campaign gave visitors new resources to discover all that the area has to offer. By navigating through the website’s “to do section”, following our social media pages for news and photos shared by locals, or just grabbing a print guide to explore artisan’s shops, cafes, markets, beaches and trails, visitors were encouraged to prolong stays or make an unexpected visit.
Since June over 7,000 print guides have been distributed to local businesses and Visitors’ Centres across the Kootenays, 3,000 + users have explored the CVKL Route website, and over 200 pictures and posts on the CVKL Route pages have been viewed by 1000 + social media followers on Facebook and Instagram.
With a successful year of the campaign behind us, the Creston Valley- Kootenay Lake Tourism Advisory Committee (CVKL TAC) would like to gratefully acknowledge the countless businesses, organizations, and community members who supported this campaign by stocking the guides, sticking the CVKL Route decal in the front window, or sharing your pictures and videos with us on social media.
We are also pleased to announce that the campaign will continue in 2019-2020 thanks to the generous financial support of Destination BC, Columbia Basin Trust, RDCK Electoral Areas A, B, C, and the Town of Creston. While enhancing our existing CVKL Route website, social media, and guide, expect to also see new resources to help your customers, visiting family members, or friends fall in love with our beautiful backyard in 2019.
Interested in learning more about the CVKL Route? Check out the website at www.crestonvalleykootenaylakeroute.com. Follow the CVKLRoute on Facebook, and Instagram. Have an idea, suggestion, question, or just want to say hello? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org best wishes to everyone along the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Route in 2019!
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