Tourism Langley has money up for grabs for event organizers creating a new festival or fair within the Township this year.
Working from a pool of hotel taxes designated specifically for local tourism – money not used while the tourism organization was in flux last year – the board wants to earmark a chunk of that coin to an ongoing initiative aimed at attract new people to Langley.
The creation of a new event, especially one that will prompt overnight stays within the community during off-season (October through April) – will be the most likely winner, said Erinn Kredba, a new staffer at Tourism Langley. But the grant money – the amount still to be disclosed – will not be given to just one event. It could and is expected to be shared between multiple endeavours.
Criteria and other details about the grant will be available on the Tourism Langley’s new website soon.
Further details of this new ongoing program, as well as some other plans for the tourism organization during the upcoming year, and the election of two of 11 board members (one representing the accommodations sector and another in attractions) will all be addressed during the Tourism Langley Association’s annual general meeting later this month.
The AGM is set for Tuesday, March 20, at 11 a.m. at the Sandman Signature Langley Hotel, 8828 201st St. in Walnut Grove.
The organization has been serving the community for the past 10 years, but following a review last year the joint Langleys agency was divided.
The Township and City now have their own destination tourism agencies, which are run separately. Tourism Langley is exclusive to the Township, while the newly formed Discover Langley City deals specifically with the City.
“It’s still Tourism Langley, just a fresh start. We were needing a refresh,” said Kredba, noting the agency will be rolling out a new logo as well as a new website and a few upcoming initiatives (such as the grant program) in the weeks to come.
Part of the upcoming year, Kredba said, will be “figuring out their dance with the City,” to avoid overlap while still being able to work together on appropriate projects.
Likewise, in her job overseeing governance and stakeholder relations, she’ll be getting out to talk to all of the tourism-related businesses, and seeing what they need and expect from the agency moving forward.
The general public will not really see any changes to Tourism Langley, Kredba said, except maybe an increase in their presence at community events and on social media.
Much of the work to be done in the coming year, she said, will be behind the scenes.
“We really need to rebuild ourself, and rebuild relationships,” said Kredba, who is no stranger to Tourism Langley. She worked with the organization on contract for four years, noting that was five years back.
She’ll join long-time staff member Mun Bagri, who specializes in the destination and sports development. And, she said, a third staff member will be hired in the months ahead.
Any board nominee applications must be received by March 5, and members RSVPing for the AGM must do so before March 18.
Last week, the province revealed its tourism statistics, boasting a 3.3-per-cent increase in visitors to B.C. for 2017.
In total, more than 5.7 million overnight visitors came to the province for business or leisure travel.
The growth was attributed to several factors, increased air access to B.C. from several key international markets.
The biggest influx in visitors seems to be coming from Australia, with 20.4 per cent more than the year previous. That was joined by a 15.4-per-cent jump in people from Germany, and a 12.9-per-cent hike in visitors from Mexico.
Tourism supports more than 133,000 jobs last year, paid $4.7 billion in wages and salaries, supported more than 19,100 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and contributed $7.9 billion towards the province’s gross domestic product.
Asked how this translated to Langley, Kredba said: “The visitor numbers we have seen so far indicate that 2017 was another positive year for tourism in Langley.”
The final statistic for Tourism Langley are being compiled and will be shared at the upcoming AGM.
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