Tourism in Golden has experienced significant growth in 2019 according to several performance indicators, as stated by Tourism Golden.
Municipal and Regional District Tax revenue was up 19 per cent in 2019, which indicates that Tourism Golden had a strong spring and summer. Web visits were also up 70 per cent, with 62 per cent of those being new visitors, which means that Tourism Golden’s digital advertising reached new audiences in the past year.
As well, the average length of stay went up from 3.2 days to 3.5 days, which means that more people are treating Golden as a tourist destination, rather than just another stop off the highway.
“Overall, we’re really pleased,” said Joanne Sweeting, the executive director at Tourism Golden. “I can’t really complain about anything, aside from the labour shortages which are becoming more difficult each summer.”
Looking ahead to 2020, labour shortages are going to be a big focus for Tourism Golden, according to Sweeting.
Tourism Golden has applied for grant funding to undertake a study on the economic impact of labour shortages in order to determine what the overall effect it has on Golden. The results from that study will allow Tourism Golden to go to the provincial and federal governments to ask for support and programs that will help address these issues.
“We were getting a lot of feedback from our stakeholders about the difficulties this created, and we took it upon ourselves to take on that role, because it had to be done,” said Sweeting. “It’s an important piece of research.”
2020 will be a big research year for Tourism Golden, as they continue their research into labour shortages, while starting a new research program called Telus Insights.
The partnership with Telus will allow Tourism Golden to harness the aggregate data that pings off of cell towers, which will allow them to see how many tourists come to Golden, when they come, and where they come from. This will allow them to continue their targeted digital ads in key markets, which will be established through the Telus data.
“This data is something we’ve been lacking. We haven’t been able to get the hard physical numbers,” said Sweeting. “We’ll be able to target our marketing, and then in year two of this partnership, see what the results are and the impact it had.”
Tourism Golden will also be beginning several co-op asset creation programs, that will allow businesses to create their own advertising materials in partnership with Tourism Golden.
“We’re giving more flexibility to our stakeholders to manage their own marketing campaigns,” said Sweeting. “The social media machines gobbles up that content like nobodies business, which is a win-win for us.”
Another big focus for Tourism Golden in 2020 will be creating a positive narrative around the upcoming highway project. According to Sweeting, they’ll be looking to emphasize the fact that being delayed on your drive isn’t all bad when you’re surrounded by national parks and mountains.
“We want to focus on not just the negative,” said Sweeting. “You’re travelling through a beautiful national park, through the longest wetlands in North America. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be stuck in those delays when it’s in this area.”