Delta needs a champion to promote its many tourism attractions, says a Delta councillor.
Coun. Sylvia Bishop, a first-term civic politician, has asked Delta staff to look for more information and the possibility the municipality can connect with South Surrey and White Rock to market the region.
The idea had originally been put forward by Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism, one of several regional destination marketing organizations, but nobody has followed up.
"I'm curious to see if there isn't an opportunity for Delta to take part in a joint community tourism possibility," Bishop said.
"They've divided the province into different tourism regions but I'm curious whether this program would come with some funding and what resources would it take from us to take part."
Delta has a variety of attractions, including Centennial Beach, the Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Burns Bog, which should make the municipality a major hub for visitors, including eco-tourists.
However, not enough is being done to coordinate and market any long-term promotional activities, said Bishop.
"We have so many people coming through here. Just imagine if we captured more of those going to and coming off the ferries to spend some time here," she said.
Bishop noted Delta has received funding for its tourism strategy for various projects, including a city twining initiative and a branding and signage program, but she said more can be done to have people visit local attractions and spend money there.
Bishop said Tourism Richmond is able to carry out promotional activities because it collects revenues from a two per cent hotel room levy, but there aren't many hotels in Delta to make it feasible for a group to do the same here.
"The other challenge is that every great idea needs a champion and it's finding that champion locally who's willing to put some energy and effort into it, beyond the corporation (of Delta)," Bishop said.
"There's no champion I can think of right now. I've talked to a lot of business people and a couple of the BIA (business improvement associations) and there's a lot of interest in doing something around tourism, but what that thing is, is something nobody has been able to figure out."
The Delta Chamber of Commerce operates the Delta Visitors Centre with municipal and provincial funding. Its website also promotes local attractions.
Executive director Peter Roaf said that is about as far as the chamber's involvement goes in tourism. Noting Delta has taken the lead for marketing the community, he said more active marketing requires resources and ongoing funding.
As far as a tourism initiative involving South Surrey and White Rock, Roaf said something like that would be a good idea. He noted Tourism Richmond could also be asked to get involved because there are many similarities between Ladner and Steveston, for example.
"I guess if we all agree to move ahead on this we have to ask if the Corporation of Delta is going to pursue this. I think there's a discussion that's restarted and the chamber would be happy to be a part of this," he said.
"We are a member-driven organization, so those members who are in those businesses who wanted to get something going, we'd support that," Roaf said.
"But in terms of a municipal effort, then we'd have to talk to Delta and somebody there would have to take a leadership role. It's a difficult thing to get going without a source of revenue."
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