Shuswap Tourism Annual Review 2023: Rising from Challenge to Innovation

In the wake of the exceptional challenges presented by the wildfires of 2023, Shuswap Tourism has emerged with resilience and innovation encapsulated in their Annual Review.

“Reflecting on the year, it’s clear the wildfires left an indelible mark on communities. Yet, it also ignited a collective spirit to rebuild and innovate. Our efforts of the past year are encapsulated in the Annual Review, accessible on both the Shuswap Tourism and CSRD (Columbia Shuswap Regional District) websites, highlighting our progress, challenges, and the strategic path forward.” –  Says Morgen Matheson, Manager of Shuswap Tourism.

This year’s primary focus has revolved around the extensive revision of the five-year Destination Marketing and Development Strategy. Engagement with the esteemed consultancy firm, Travel Local, assisted Shuswap Tourism in charting a course ahead. They have been instrumental in identifying the strengths and rejuvenating target markets. This initiative has engaged over 130 community stakeholders through a range of methods, including surveys, social media interactions, workshops, and one-on-one interviews, complemented by data from national and regional sources.  The Shuswap Tourism Advisory Committee has been reinstated, featuring local businesses from all corners of the region, representing diverse sectors of the tourism industry, thereby enhancing engagement. The finalized plan lays the groundwork for 2024, emphasizing community-based destination management, quality, sustainability, and collaboration.

Marketing initiatives have flourished through partnerships with Golf in BC, BC Ale Trail, Fishing BC and the new addition of the BC Bird Trail. Ongoing collaboration with Destination BC (DBC), the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), and Destination Canada has been pivotal. It enabled the successful relaunch of the regional tourism website, updated essential visitor materials, and launched the award-winning “Shuswap Chill” social media campaign, a series that has significantly increased online presence and visitor engagement.

The Shuswap Chill campaign, in particular, has captured the imagination of visitors and locals alike, highlighting the region’s unique allure and off-peak season treasures. It has not only garnered over two million views for its South Canoe trails mountain biking segment but has also earned prestigious recognition with a Marcom and Viddy Platinum award.

In a bid to enrich the visitor experience and support local economies, 2023 also saw the launch of Shuswap Tourism’s Farmstand Trail project. This agri-tourism initiative underscores the commitment to promoting sustainable tourism and celebrating the region’s rich agricultural heritage. 

“This ambitious project will feature a dedicated website with a map of all the farmstands and experiences along the Salmon River and Yankee Flats areas, connecting Falkland with Salmon Arm.  We are hopeful to expand this pilot project to the rest of the Shuswap region in the coming years.” Noted Morgen Matheson.

Looking ahead, Shuswap Tourism is committed to not just navigating the challenges, but to fostering a tourism sector that is resilient, sustainable, and vibrant now and years to come.



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