The five-day tour highlights all four villages of the Nisga’a Nation, including a boat ride in Gingolx. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

The Nisga’a Nation tourism board will be holding their first pilot tour in the Nass Valley this summer.

The tour from July 12 to 16 is part of a multi-year plan to encourage and grow tourism into the area, with an intention to create more jobs and infrastructure.

“The idea is to make Nisga’a Nation have their own destination brand,” says Bertram Mercer, manager of economic development of the Nisga’a Lisims Government.

The five-day tour highlights all four villages of the Nisga’a Nation, with visits to local restaurants, stays at lodges and cultural activities. Along the way are several stops at scenic nature sites such as the hot springs, the lava beds, waterfalls and lakes.

Approximately eight people, made up of tourism representatives and “influencers”, will be joining in the tour to test the fluidity of the itinerary and provide feedback on how “tourism ready” each location is, and how it can be improved. The tour will also be featured on Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism Canada and through different tour operators.

READ MORE: Nisga’a celebrate 19 years of self-government in B.C. legislature

Dana Schoahs, director of marketing at Indigenous Tourism BC, says she sees great potential for the Nisga’a Nation and what it has to offer, especially given the vast landscape and uniqueness of the Nass Valley.

“[The goal is to] work with industry partners because they will be our influencers and they will also be the ones that kind of sell it,” she says. “It needs to be market ready [with] scheduled departures, the place has to be reliable and stuff like that…it’s really to understand where are we at with the destination? What needs to be happening? And where do we have to work with the individual businesses to get them to the next stage? It’s ironing out all the kinks.”

Scoahs says they’ve recognized an increase in expressed interest in Indigenous tourism in the province and nation-wide as more people are wanting to have more cultural experiences they can’t find in bigger cities.

“They really [like to] experience a destination, not just like come in and come out,” says Schoahs. “One in three visitors to Canada are looking for an Indigenous tourism experience.”

Scoahs will help launch the Nisga’a tourism brand to entice a tourism appeal. Prior to this contract, Scoahs was a part in establishing Haida Gwaii’s Indigenous tourism and sees a lot of comparable factors. She says their aim is to convince people booking their next trip to Canada, specifically from countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia, to include the Nass Valley on their to-do list.

“[This would be] really showcasing their culture, bringing that to the forefront and marrying it with the beautiful landscape for people to get an appreciation [of it all],” she says.

READ MORE: Hobiyee 2019: Feeding a thousand people in Ging̱olx

Driving through the Nass Valley, signs indicating points of interest along the Nisga’a Highway are part of the “Auto Tour Route”. These spots are designated tourist stops to be included in the itinerary, which would also eventually cater to tour buses in a few years. At the moment, these pull-offs are for self-guided and smaller vehicle tours.

“When someone comes in on the buses, we can bring them out to places to look at the sites and have an ambassador there to explain the significance,” Mercer says.

BC Parks has also been working with the Nisga’a tourism board to build more tourist-required facilities like rest stop washrooms, trail maintenance and a visitors centre.

Mercer adds their vision of a tourism industry has already sparked a few entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses. Members are able to enroll in business workshops and certification programs to help develop important skills that could benefit tourism in the area.



natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Northwest B.C. physician receives Medal of Good Citizenship Award

Dr. Peter Newbery was one of 18 people in B.C. to get provincial recognition

Northern Society for Domestic Peace remembers women killed in Montreal Massacre 30 years ago

Society will hand out 14 red roses, one for each of the victims, to women who stop by office today

Petition calls for appeal of Luke Strimbold’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says the former Burns Lake mayor’s case is under review

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read