Tourism in need of champion, July 13
Unhappily one councillor has made statements in the Optimist that are not factual nor historically accurate.
These are the facts:
In January 2006, I set up the Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism and Economic Development.
Members of the business community were appointed and a consultant was engaged to bring recommendations to the committee and hence the council, in order to identify many issues surrounding tourism in Delta.
Much work was done during this time identifying the best method of implementing the recommendations, including the Delta "Blue Logo." The committee remained in operation until the end of 2009. The findings are on record.
As a result of the committee's work, on Jan. 16, 2012, council approved an amount of $47,500 for the Delta Chamber of Commerce to operate the Visitor Information Centre and provide tourism services through 2012 broken down as follows:
. $16,000 direct costs for tourism services;
. $18,000 salaries;
. $13,500 overhead expenses (25 per cent of Delta chamber's applicable operation expenses).
This is the same amount Delta approved in 2011.
The chamber has been operating the Tourism B.C.accredited Visitor Centre on behalf of Delta since 2001 and is part of a network of more than 100 similar centres throughout B.C.
In its 2011 annual report, the centre experienced another decline in visitors (12 per cent over 2010) despite maintaining its level of operating hours (2,000 hours throughout the year).
Approximately 72 per cent of users are local residents from Delta and the surrounding area, followed by visitors from Europe, U.S., other parts of B.C. and Canada.
Despite the downward trend in 2011, the centre provided direct services to more than 1,600 tourism parties and 2,200 individuals who visited the centre and 2,400 telephone enquiries, plus their tourism website, which is an increasingly popular source of information.
The council decision was made to continue using the Delta Chamber of Commerce as the primary tourist promotional vehicle and in fact continue to contribute municipal tax dollars to the chamber for its efforts toward that promotion.
We have continued to funnel $47,500 to the chamber for tourism and in the opinion of the council, the funding was given in order that members of the chamber could use their vast knowledge, expertise, desire and drive to fully advance the tourism promotion in Delta.
I am sure the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association and the Ladner Business Association also became and continue to be involved through the chamber's efforts as promotional vehicles for tourism in both communities.
I share this information with the Optimist as I am disappointed the story was not more fully researched.
Lois E. Jackson Mayor