Friday, November 25, 2022

Merchandising opportunities and new features for Mariner's Park among the hopes ahead for Tourism Prince Rupert

Some of the work ahead for Tourism Prince Rupert for 2023 gained some support from Prince Rupert City Council on Monday evening, with the Mayor and councillors endorsing requests for letters of support for a few upcoming initiatives.

As we noted yesterday,  the City's Communication Director Veronika Stewart provided a short synopsis of the plans for some new features for Mariner's Park, while Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller outlined some of the background to a merchandising program of 2023.

The two proposals caught our eye so we contacted Tourism Prince Rupert's Executive Director, Ceilidh Marlow, for some additional notes on what the early days of their planning looks like.

Towards the plans for Mariner's Park Ms. Marlow offered up some hints as to what could coming over the course of the next year and a bit for the popular downtown gathering space.

Tourism Prince Rupert is investigating the possibility of revitalizing Mariner's Park, Prince Rupert's primary downtown public park, with a project committee established and an experienced design and landscape architecture team selected to develop the park and plaza design. 

The project will rejuvenate existing park infrastructure and install new public amenities that highlight Prince Rupert's cultural and Indigenous history, create an enhanced sense of place, and provide a new marquis community and visitor plaza that is sheltered from the elements. 

Broad public engagement is planned for February 2023 to ensure the design reflects the needs of residents, tourism stakeholders, and Indigenous communities, with the final designs delivered in March of 2023 and funding opportunities to be pursued for construction to start in early 2024. 

The project outputs will include re-paving and re-landscaping the park, installing a large-scale covered shelter for events, performances, and visitor experiences, and creating new a public art installation.

With the Cruise Industry making for an impressive rebound in 2022 after our two years of COVID and the closure of the terminal for visitors. 

The year ahead looks promising already and Tourism Prince Rupert is looking to tap into some of the volume of visitors that descend on the city both off cruises ships and through personal travels into the Northwest.

Towards that, Ms. Marlow outlined how their plans for a Merchandise program might move forward in the year ahead.

Tourism Prince Rupert proposes to develop new visitor merchandise for the 2023 visitor season. This will include the development of shirts, hats, totes, pins, patches, and sweaters. For years, we have heard from visitors, in particular cruise passengers, how they are searching for Prince Rupert apparel or souvenirs to bring home. 

With the return of cruise to Prince Rupert in 2022, it's the perfect time to develop new offerings in response to these gaps identified by visitors, in order to keep growing our tourism sector. The return of cruise tourism has significantly boosted the local economy, with approximately $3.5 million in direct consumer spending in the community, including more than $650,000 spent with local shore excursion providers. 

This season’s totals were also bolstered by visits from Ruby Princess. The cruise vessel, which has a capacity for more than 3,000 passengers, called on Prince Rupert 13 times. 

 In order to keep the cruise industry interested in Prince Rupert, and in turn, creating this immense economic opportunity for our community, we must actively grow our offerings and show that we are listening to the needs of the cruise passengers. 

The desire for Prince Rupert souvenirs and apparel is something that we can execute now to show that we are actively working to address the noted gaps, while we continue to work on the larger tour product development pieces that take longer to achieve.

The two notable moves towards visitor experiences come as Tourism Prince Rupert also moves ahead with its current signage program. 

As we outlined last week, the two base units to hold the new Welcome to Prince Rupert signs have been installed at Butze Rapids and just north of the BC Ferries Terminal.  

Once those signs are installed, attention will be directed towards the path ahead for the Wayfinding sign project which has already started with some preparation work around the downtown core, waterfront and Cow Bay areas.

There may be more to share next week as Tourism Prince Rupert hosts its Annual General Meeting December 1st at the Highlaner Inn, learn more about that event here.

You can keep up with the latest notes from Tourism Prince Rupert through their social media feed here.

A wider overview of North Coast Tourism themes is available here

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