Once travel restrictions lift and vaccines roll out, visitors will hopefully be welcomed back to Creston. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Once travel restrictions lift and vaccines roll out, visitors will hopefully be welcomed back to Creston. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Creston Valley Tourism Society remains optimistic for the future

The Creston Valley Tourism Society remains optimistic about the industry in the coming years, despite difficulties throughout the pandemic.

In 2019, the Tourism Society was established following the provincial introduction of a 2 per cent hotel levy on overnight stays, paid by visitors. Their mandate is to use the funds to promote visitation to the area, to support visitors in having a great experience, and provide leadership to encourage growth of the local tourism sector.

In most recent developments, local resident Jesse Willicome was welcomed to the team as the new tourism co-ordinator. He grew up in Creston, then spent several years pursuing post-secondary and travelling abroad before returning home.

Jesse Willicome is the new tourism co-ordinator for the Creston Valley Tourism Society. (Photo by Camille Willicome)

Willicome will be familiar to many residents and business owners due to his previous work as the Creston Area Community Initiatives Consultant on the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Route Tourism campaign. He also spent the past year working for the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Economic Action Partnership on various economic and tourism development projects, such as the Show Local Love shopping campaign.

“It’s a fairly competitive environment in the Kootenays, so it’s important to have an industry-led association within our community,” he said.

“Having grown up here, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Creston go from being a bit of a hidden gem to coming into it’s own as a destination that people love to visit because of it’s friendly people and beautiful scenery. I’m looking forward to working to support our tourism sector through this time and safely welcoming visitors back in the not-to-distant-future.”

With vaccines rolling out, the hope is that travel restrictions will lift later this year. Willicome said that the Tourism Society will play an important role in bringing more visitors to town.

He said there are many things that make Creston a wonderful place to explore, including outdoor recreation like hiking and kayaking, locally-grown food at the Farmers’ Market, fresh fruit, wineries, great weather, and beautiful landscapes.

“I think people often find the Creston Valley by accident on their way to other places,” he said.

“This is the perfect place for young families and retired couples to visit and relax. We have nice easy trails to stroll on and so much wine and food to enjoy. There’s a huge market for that here. We’re like a micro-Okanagan.”

While COVID-19 rages on, the Tourism Society has put any plans for marketing on hold for the time being. In the meantime, their website and social media pages are being revamped.

“We’ve had to fully change our marketing strategy to pivot and adjust to the current situation,” said Willicome.

“We should be ready to hit the ground running in 2022 with some great resources set up for future visitors.”

Despite the many challenges over the last year, Willicome said that he heard from a number of local businesses that last summer had record-breaking sales.

“I think a lot of that was contributed to regional travellers visiting different communities in the Kootenays, and even locals who started spending their money more at home,” he said.

“I think it’s a testament to how proud people are of our local businesses. The support was huge.”

He recognized that this spring has been a tough time as the three-week “circuit breaker” put a strain on business owners.

“Our number of visitors has been way down, and that’s had a tough impact on the industry,” he said. “But we know that we all need to follow public health orders right now. We’ll continue advocating for the supports that our businesses need.”

As the Tourism Society plans for future growth, they welcome other passionate community members to get involved to help work on their goals.

To learn more, reach out to cvtourism@gmail.com or visit the Explore Creston Valley Facebook page.

Creston Valley

Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Creston’s high school

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for the former Prince Charles Secondary School

A new doctor has been recruited for the Creston Valley. (Pixabay)
New doctor recruited for the Creston Valley

Dr. Luke Turanich is expected to begin practice in late summer/early fall

Fire at the former Alpine Disposal, and now GFL recycling facility, on Hwy 22 South of Trail. Photo taken just before 6 p.m. Monday June 21. Photo: John Piccolo
Update: Industrial fire rages outside Trail on Monday

Photos: The fire is reported to be at the GFL recycling facility

Kootenay forests are unusually dry for this time of year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
On summer’s cusp, Kootenay forests are at record dry levels

Southeast Fire Centre says 4 months of unusually dry weather have had effect on the region’s forests

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read