The webcam on the roof of Kinsmen Beach amenity and concession building is one of several throughout the Columbia Valley that are proving to be useful tourism tools.

Webcams prove important new tool for local tourism

Webcams have become the latest way to increase tourism across the Columbia Valley.

There a number of things that goes into a local business’ decisions when trying to promote their product, or brand if you like. In the past, this was known conventionally as advertising. Today, in a technologically advanced world, it’s manifest in webcams.

Potentially known to few, webcams are becoming a popular phenomenon in the Columbia Valley for businesses to spread the associated lifestyle of their products. Take Columbiavalley.com for example, which now has four webcams in the Columbia Valley and are still looking to add more. Their current webcams include views of downtown Invermere and Radium Springs, Copper Point Golf Course and as many as 12 webcams North and South along BC highways.

Scott Neumann, web developer for Columbiavalley.com, said that the success with the webcams has led them to prepare to add another webcam in the valley in the near future, but would not disclose the location at this point.

“They are getting hundreds of new visitors per day,” he said. “They love them. It’s always been well received by mostly visitors out of the valley, people who own property here want to check out and see what’s happening here, what the weather is like.”

Neumann said that sponsors are able to pay for the webcams to be put in place so that people are able to view live images of what’s happening in the valley. Inspire Floral Boutique sponsors the webcam in downtown Invermere, showing a south-facing view of Cenotaph Square with the war memorial.

Although some may think the increase in the amount of webcams could potentially lead to less privacy, Neumann cautions that the webcams do not record any pictures or video on a hard drive and you can’t recognize people or license plates. He said this fascination with webcams is all part of the technology movement across society.

“It’s the whole social media thing that people want to see what is happening this very second,” he said. “It’s kind of almost addicting. I’ve always got one opened on my screen and I just kind of say, ‘oh yeah town’s looking real busy or whatever.’

Outside of the Columbiavalley.com website, the District of Invermere also has a webcam set up focusing on Kinsmen beach. The webcam has been in operation since 2011 offering a waterfront view of the beach that’s able to give viewers a detailed image of the conditions and amount of people already on the beach.

Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer for the District, said the webcam hasn’t been without its problems in recent history, as it’s been knocked out of operation at once already.

Neumann said that webcams like theirs have become a great marketing option for local businesses. John Newton from Highland Crossing recently wrote to the District requesting that Highland Crossing have access to the District’s webcam as part of their social media strategy aimed at promoting valley life to its consumers.

Council supported the idea during their meeting last Tuesday but said there would be logistics that would need to be worked out such as a small maintenance fee that would ensure the webcam is able to operate on a full-time basis.

“I think the idea, the concept, if we find a technical way of sharing it, it would be great to have that go to not only Highland Crossing but also Invermere, Panorama and other sources,” Mayor Gerry Taft said during council.

At a time when technology is changing much of modern society, it also enables a greater advancement in the tourism industry, which is always a positive event for the Columbia Valley, Taft said.

“I think if you can look here and see what the weather is doing and see it’s much better than Calgary, it might just be that extra incentive to come out or stay here or whatever the case is.”

 

 

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