The East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook recently underwent a $20 million intensive care unit expansion and electrical system upgrade. Underway is the construction of a new $5.6-million MRI.
Cranbrook on the way to becoming a full-fledged tourism destination
The Cranbrook Tourism Society is moving forward with support from the Municipal and Regional District Tax Program
Since January 1, 2018, hotels and other short-term accommodation properties in Cranbrook have been collecting a three per cent tax, which will contribute to an estimated $300,000 annual budget for the city’s destination marketing organization to promote Cranbrook as a full-fledged tourism destination.
Funding has been made possible through the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) Program, which is offered by the Minister of Finance, the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Destination British Columbia. Cranbrook is one of more than 50 communities in B.C. to benefit from this program, which is intended to raise revenue for local tourism marketing, programs and projects.
Obviously, this is good news for businesses in Cranbrook as the goal of the Cranbrook Tourism Society is to increase visitation and extend the stays of visitors.
“It means Cranbrook and area businesses will be busier, more profitable and require more labour to provide additional service,” said Cranbrook Tourism director Chris Andrews.
Cranbrook Tourism was formed in August 2015, but the organization hasn’t been able to move forward aggressively with marketing efforts until now.
According to Andrews, updating the society’s website and building relationships with local businesses to create market-ready packages will be top priorities in the first year of collecting the MRDT. The society is also looking to build relationships at regional and provincial levels so that it can work with area communities and organizations, such as Kootenay Rockies Tourism and Destination BC.
World-class outdoor attractions
Surrounded by mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers, Cranbrook is the gateway to a range of outdoor activities—including hiking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, paddling, boating, fishing, mountain biking, cycling and golfing.
“A number of these activities would be considered world-class, based on the location, quality and infrastructure,” said Andrews. “When we look at the amenities available to the traveller—plentiful accommodation, numerous restaurants and shops—and add in the fact that the area is rich in history, arts and culture, it’s pretty clear that the Cranbrook and area is a tourism destination ready to be marketed.”
Cranbrook Tourism plans on marketing the area to highway travellers from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and the state of Washington as well as long-haul travellers who will be accessing the area via the Canadian Rockies International Airport. In the future, the society may also create market-ready packages for business meetings, festivals, events, tourism and sport tourism.
Of course, it won’t happen overnight, but these are exciting times for Cranbrook and area, British Columbia’s newest tourism destination.