In an effort to bring a stronger tourism focus to Radium Hot Springs, members of the village’s Chamber of Commerce have voted nearly unanimously in favour of creating the Tourism Radium Hot Springs Association, which will serve as a separate entity from the chamber.
New president Graham Kerslake, who was sworn in following the 35 to three vote Oct. 11, called the new association “really just an extension of the former Radium Chamber of Commerce.”
“The Chamber was mainly focused on business initiatives, with a small focus on tourism,” Kerslake said.
“The new association will have more of a focus on tourism with a secondary focus on business… it will still provide the same services, but with a stronger focus on tourism initiatives.”
Kerslake called the new association a natural evolution over time. The visitor information centre in Radium was one of the busiest in the province, and Kerslake said Radium has become more and more receptive to tourism in the village, especially since the closing of the Canfor mill.
“We’re looking at creating a renewed sense of enthusiasm for tourism here in Radium,” Kerslake said. “Tourism is the lifeblood of so many businesses here in Radium.”
Radium Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce manager Kent Kebe also explained that over the years, the Chamber of Commerce had become a sort of “catch-all” for all aspects of visitor service as well as representing local businesses.
As the mandate of the new tourism association will be to focus on visitor information as well as that aspect of marketing, Kebe says that the new association will free up time and resources for the Chamber of Commerce to focus on other issues, as well as providing a direction and guidelines for both organizations.
“It’s exciting to see the two separate entities, and to see the new direction,” Kebe said.
“With the new branding and marketing initiatives that Radium is undertaking, they’ll be working closely with Tourism Radium to not only meet the needs of visitors, but also to get visitors to both Radium and the valley as a whole, because we all have to work together.”