There is fresh snow on the mountain tops and a buzz in the air about the upcoming winter season. The seasons change but the smiles stay the same. There is anticipation that the increased visitor numbers seen through the summer continue to come in the winter season. Across the province tourism numbers have increased 7.1% over 2014 numbers.
Fernie shared in the visitor increase. The downtown visitor information center housed in the Fernie Museum helped 6700 visitors or 20% more than last year, while the highway visitor center saw numbers steady from 2014. Most visitors were coming from Alberta followed by BC residents.
Local hotels also enjoyed the increased traffic seeing a 10 to 20% increase over 2014 occupancies. It was a great summer to welcome people into Fernie. Caitlin Bates of Fernie Lodging Company noted that this year saw a lot more mid-week visitation. This came from a number of family reunions and company gatherings.
Our winter services are getting ready to welcome another season of skiers, boarders, fat-tire bikers, and general outdoor enthusiasts. New this year, FAR will be offering a mobile app with snow conditions, weather reports and trail maps. Island Lake Lodge’s glading crew has worked extensively on terrain in the summer to ensure more terrain options and a better ski experience in early season.
As the snow falls there is an anticipation in the air of new opportunities and new experiences. The Chamber of Commerce this year is working with businesses to provide the best customer experience through the Fernie Ambassador program. This four-hour session is designed to build a community-wide experience and to help new-comers (and those here a little longer) know all things Fernie. “The Fernie Ambassador program is designed to elevate the guest experience by teaching all those who connect with Fernie guests customer service skills and details previously known only by locals. The Chamber is very excited about the program and is getting great support from the business community” states board president Sheila Byers.
Call the Fernie Chamber for more details about the Fernie Ambassador Program. The Fernie Chamber of Commerce represents over 260 business in Fernie and the Elk Valley. Its mission is to strengthen commerce in the Fernie area and is guided by principles of membership, integrity, bestpractices, business excellence, and non-partisanship. The Fernie Chamber of Commerce is “The Voice of Business in Fernie.”