After it was first introduced in 2018, Fernie’s Tourism Master Plan has been launched and will now guide the decision made regarding the tourism industry within the community.
The 58-page document details the stakeholders and processes that worked together to create a path into the future for the tourism sector, which Tourism Fernie said is important to the local economy.
The plan was launched on September 30th and is now available online.
“This plan could not have happened without the dedication and commitment of the stakeholders on the Task Force,” said Jikke Gyorki, Executive Officer at Tourism Fernie. “Tourism is a community-driven economy where a diversity of local small businesses and non-profit organizations work hand-in-hand with the municipality and various levels of government and community members to invest in and deliver exceptional visitor experiences while enhancing local amenities, infrastructure, festivals and attractions. To be effective in tourism requires teamwork, partnerships and a plan.”
The plan was funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, Tourism Fernie, City of Fernie, Fernie Chamber of Commerce and the Regional District of East Kootenay, and it focuses on the next 10 years of development with strategic directions and action items to work on over the next 3-5 years.
Tourism Fernie said it was developed to evolve as market dynamics and local needs change. The Master Plan was originally intended to launch in the spring, however, it was amended to take the impacts of COVID-19 and the community’s recovery into account.
“Fernie is very fortunate to have a hard-working tourism community. Working together to grow tourism has been an ongoing process. The Tourism Master Plan is a great opportunity to really move our community further forward. By working together and presenting a united, thought out plan, there is no doubt Fernie will continue to develop as one of Canada’s outstanding destinations,” said Andy Cohen, General Manager at Fernie Alpine Resort.
According to Tourism Fernie, over 580 residents and 110 businesses participated in a detailed survey during the public engagement process, while focus group sessions worked with various sectors such as activity operators, cultural organizations, environmental organizations and land and trail user groups.
It added that input provided clarity on Fernie as a tourism community in the present and on where it should go in the future. Further data, research and expertise that was integrated into the plan by the Task Force and a consulting company, Whistler Centre of Sustainability.
“Tourism in Fernie is growing. The Master Plan process was an opportunity for our business community and residents to comment on and guide that growth. The Plan is designed to maximize tourism benefits while mitigating challenges. The Chamber looks forward to the community continuing to come together and get to work,” said Brad Parsell, Executive Director at the Fernie Chamber of Commerce.