Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tourism Prince Rupert has hopes for positive results from consultants Report on Northern BC Ferries routes

Tourism officials in Prince Rupert are looking to give the British Columbia Government and BC Ferries a few good reasons to extend the peak summer season schedule on the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii starting in 2019.

Towards that goal, The Board of Directors of Tourism Prince Rupert recently passed a motion to engage the services of Wave Point Consulting which would provide their services toward information gathering for the report and to help steer the proposed project to completion.

The focus for the work will be Routes 10 and 11 of the BC Ferries system, linking Prince Rupert with Haida Gwaii and Port Hardy onVancouver Island.

Tourism Prince Rupert Board Chair Scott Farwell notes in a correspondence with the North Coast Regional District that BC Ferries plays a critical role in economic development on the North Coast through the highway 16 corridor.

He outlines for Regional District that the two BC Ferries routes that sail out of Prince Rupert, are relied on by many communities for the transportation of goods and services and are considered to be critical components of the regional tourism economy.

The goal for the project is to provide the required information to engage the British Columbia Government and BC Ferries and to give them a better understanding of the unique transportation requirements of the North Coast and to help make the economic argument to extend the peak summer sailing schedule to its historic levels from before 2014.

Should Tourism Prince Rupert be successful in achieving that, they believe that it will result in increased visitor traffic to communities on the North Coast, Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island.

A glimpse at what WavePoint  has to offer through their project, is being provided to the North Coast Regional Council for their review at Friday's Prince Rupert meeting. 

As part of their introduction of the report plans Tourism Prince Rupert is hoping to gain both financial and political support for their project for area governments.

A report commissioned by Tourism
Prince Rupert will put the focus on
BC Ferries Routes 10 and 11
on the North Coast
In the prospectus preview for Tourism Prince Rupert provided by Wave Point  the organization highlights a number of elements that will make for the final document.

Identify a Mechanism and Develop Recommendations to the North Coast Ferry Advisory Committee for Improved Dialogue with Provincial Government and BC Ferries.

Identify and Demonstrate that BC Ferries is the Critic Component in Creating Economic Development for Vancouver Island and Northern BC.

Identify and Develop the Rationale that will lead to Obtaining a Commitment from the Province to a 5 year Schedule Cycle.

Identify the Socio-Economic Rationale for Reinstitutuing Summer Sailings Schedule for North Coast Ferry Service to Previous levels.

By making for a case that highlights both the social impact of ferry service and the economic benefits to the region that improved Ferry service would provide for, Tourism Prince Rupert is tapping the two main themes that many local political leaders have been bringing to the province and BC Ferries over the years.

The call for a return to an increased level of service has been a frequent topic of discussion for area politicians since reduced service was put in place on the two routes earlier this decade.

The estimated cost of the report is 36,000 dollars with a fourteen week timeline indicated from start delivery of the final draft of the report.

You can review the talking points for the project as well as the full eighteen page document from the North Coast Regional District Agenda package for tomorrow night's District session.

The Tourism Prince Rupert notes begin at page 25.

For more items related to BC Ferries service on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Notes on Tourism in the Northwest can be found here, while a review of items of interest from North Coast Regional District can be explored on our archive page here.

1 comment:

  1. North Coast Ferry Service
    Tourism Perspective Vital to Growing Ferry Service and Jobs on BC’s North Coast

    Prince Rupert, British Columbia, May 1, 2018 – Independent research commissioned by Tourism Prince Rupert makes a compelling case for the primary importance of designing BC ferry services to meet the needs of the Tourism industry and its customers.

    A new study led by Wave Point Consulting highlights the potential for tourism growth and the crucial role that BC Ferries can play in supporting and sustaining economic development on Northern Vancouver Island, and in Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii and communities across British Columbia that service Totem Route travellers.

    Drawing attention to the fact that the greatest opportunities for sustainable economic development in Northern BC lie in the Tourism sector, the report calls for a number of actions on the part of the Provincial Government and BC Ferries, including:

    Recognizing that BC Ferries plays a critical role in supporting the development of the Tourism sector in Northern BC;

    Reinstating enhanced summer sailings schedules for the North Coast Ferry Service – to support tourism operators’ efforts to extend the peak tourism season;

    Providing a five-year service guarantee for BC Ferries Northern Routes – to enhance the degree of certainty that tourism operators have with respect to ferry schedules; and

    Engaging in sustained dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders in the Tourism sector – to address challenges and to make the most of the economic opportunities.

    The relationship between the ferry service and the Tourism industry needs to be mutually beneficial. Scott Farwell, Chair of Tourism Prince Rupert noted that, “The Tourism sector is vital for sustaining traffic levels and driving growth on BC Ferries North routes. Not only would an enhanced ferry service support an expansion of tourism experiences for travellers to Northern BC but a vibrant Tourism sector in the region could, over the longer term, help BC Ferries meet its passenger targets.”

    The commissioned study represents a first opportunity to bring the voice of the Tourism sector to the discussion about the future of the service provided by BC Ferries. It is a perspective that the study authors and Tourism Prince Rupert trusts the Provincial Government will pay close attention to as part of its current Coastal Ferry Services Review.

    Scott Farwell said, “For too long the voice of the tourist customer has been missing from government policy decisions regarding BC Ferries service levels. The research report demonstrates the need for immediately extending ferry service in the shoulder seasons. Small business owners have told us how cuts in service have negatively impacted their businesses. Now is the time to introduce the report’s recommendations so that the economies of the local communities – and communities across the province – can grow and thrive.”

    Download a copy of the North Coast Ferry Service Report – including the recommendations made to Government and BC Ferries – or read the report online