Posts by Michael Stanyer:

On May 25th, 2017, Tourism Prince George and the Community Arts Council invited artists to attend an information and feedback session about the Visitor Centre giftshop and Artnership.

  • An introduction to the marketing material that travellers see and the expectations they have about British Columbia.
  • An orientation to the market segments that come to the Visitor Information Centre (about %5 of BC travellers).
  • Suggestions about the types of artwork and souvenirs that visitors are looking for and gaps in the current supply.
  • A description of Artnership opportunities at the VIC and mobile visitor centre.

If you missed the presentation, please have a look at the slides and direct any questions to Michael Stanyer, Program Manager for Visitor Services.

Tourism PG - Kittil Falls - East of Prince George, BC.

This is a scenic site, easily accessible with a couple camping spots. The falls are upstream from the camp site: you'll see a two-track path into the forest. Follow that path for a few hundred metres and you'll easily find the falls. Here, the wide path ends but a faint trail can be picked up that leads further up the hillside to view the shallow upper pool and a second, smaller waterfall. This area also has an abundance of blueberries and huckleberries.

The Kittil Falls rec site is accessed via the McGregor Sande FSR (if you are using a Backroads Mapbook, it is simply labelled McGregor). The trip out will take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours depending on the condition of the gravel roads. Drive east from Prince George on HWY 16 to Upper Fraser Road. Turn left on Upper Fraser Road and follow it past the community of Willow River, Eaglet Lake, Upper Fraser and finally a single lane bridge over the Fraser River. Turn right at the junction after the bridge and drive for approximately 1km, then turn left onto Pass Lake Road. Follow this gravel road for 46km, then turn onto the McGregor Sande FSR and drive for about 9km until you see the Kittil Falls recreation site sign on your right, just before a small bridge.

Pass Lake Road is a corridor for backcountry hikes and rec sites. If this is your first time out, take note of some spots nearby as you'll likely return: the Torpy FSR departs Pass Lake Road and leads to Torpy Mountain; the trailhead for a hike called The Farm is in an overgrown pull-out on the north side of the road in the first corner at Pass Lake; the Pass Lake rec site is at the north end of the lake, easily visible from the road; the access road to Fang Mountain is otherwise unmarked at the 41km sign; at 48km you will find the McGregor River rec site and the deactivated suspension bridge (there is a model of this bridge at the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum).

Every two weeks I produce a printable list of as many visitor-relevant shows, concerts and events as I can find. You can download it below or email me ( stanyer@tourismpg.com ) to have it delivered to your inbox. Also, send me a message if the list is missing something or if you know of a keen local who should be getting the updates.

Sept 1 Ambassador Update PDF

In addition, our events calendar, the HYPG blog, and What In it For You Prince George have even more ideas. Remember to tag your good times with #takeonPG on Twitter and Instagram so we can see what you're up to right away.

One more thing: the waterfall image is from Kittil Falls near PG. See a guide and more photos here.

Community events, competitions, conferences, exhibits, tours and more.

Every two weeks, I prepare a printable list of events, competitions, conferences, exhibits, tours and other information to help our keen community members assist with visitors' questions.

Download this week's list here.  If you want the next one emailed to you, send me a message: stanyer@tourismpg.com

Digital Ambassador Workshop in the Prince George Visitor Information Centre - "HelloPG" Community Ambassador Program.

On June 6th 2016 I hosted the first Digital Ambassador Workshop in the Prince George Visitor Information Centre as part of our new "HelloPG" Community Ambassador Program. The turn-out was much more than I expected and very encouraging: the enthusiasm of our digital content creators is remarkable.

What is the Community Ambassador program?

With support from Destination British Columbia's Visitor Services Innovation Fund, Tourism PG has been able to take a new initiative for engaging more visitors outside of the Visitor Information Centre (VIC). The HelloPG Community Ambassador Program operates on three fronts: 1) Providing keen locals, especially customer service employees and event volunteers, with bi-weekly information packages about events, exhibits, shows and tours; 2) Attending events and visitor hot-spots with a Pop-Up VIC (tent, table, guidebooks, maps, etc.); 3) Engaging the community's digital ambassadors to help fill in online-content gaps, and to foster regular communications so that our team doesn't miss important new digital content.

So, what is a digital ambassador? Our community is rich with content creators already doing ambassador tasks: blogging, posting journals and guides, publishing videos and photos, making maps, writing reviews, answering questions on forums, travel sites, and social media.  The HelloPG program provides digital ambassadors with ideas for taking their activities further, though these self-starters rarely need much guidance; even more important is to formally recognize our digital community and give them a convenient venue to collaborate and share ideas with the Tourism PG team.

The Look and Feel of BC Tourism Media

I knew that most of the attendees were already seasoned content creators and didn't need tips on SEO or photography basics, so I wanted to talk about the style of tourism media in BC.

The Wild Within was well received with it's obvious departure from established tourism video tropes: gone are perfect blue skies, studio lighting, contrived composition, smiling models, sappy sentiment and jangly stock music. Instead, the style of the video rests on mist, darkness, dappled light, slow-motion close-ups, and golden hour shooting.  

Moving on from The Wild Within, I thought it was important to show a regional video too. BC is organized into six tourism regions: Northern BC, Cariboo Chilcotin, Kootenay Rockies, Thompson Okanagan, Vancouver Coast & Mountains, and Vancouver Islands. Destination BC has recently released a video for each region, but in the interest of time I only showed our Northern BC video.

 

If you were to watch all the regional clips, the Northern BC story would immediately be set apart by the narrator's solitary journey, where as the narrators in the other regions are travelling as couples or groups.

Travellers in Northern British Columbia aren't necessarily characterized by travelling alone, but are remarkably independent and free spirited. The opening line of the narration, "Travelling, for me, is coming in without a plan," resonates with me as a traveller, and I think hits home for most of the RV and camping road-trippers that flock to Northern BC every summer.

To complete the series of video examples, I showed Tourism PG's new outdoor adventure clip.

The video took approximately one year to shoot and edit. With a focus on adventure recreation and action sports, our clip doesn't fully match the ponderous pacing of Destination BC's videos; however, we did adhere to the visual style wherever possible.

The Wild Within prompts travellers to reassess questions about nature: "What is big? What is power?" Our clip further asks visitors to question their experience of nature: "What is real?" Those who travel to Northern BC seek genuine, authentic, experiences with spontaneous local connections and discoveries that stem from their own agency as self-sufficient road-trippers.

Tourism Media and Visitor Services

Sublime nature and freedom to roam is the big appeal of Northern BC, but with media that hinges on seemingly endless wilderness, travellers get the impression that Northern BC is far less developed than it is. They are often surprised by the size of Prince George and the services offered here. We get some surprising questions: Are the roads paved? Are there sidewalks? Is the city open in the winter? Therefore, it is important for us to represent our City with fresh, high quality visuals and look for opportunities to add more content; for example, locations on Google Maps that unexpectedly don't have an image uploaded. It's also important to have a vibrant and welcoming social media presence: not just from corporate accounts, but from locals as well.

Digital Ambassador Activities

With knowledge of our visual/editorial style (being "on-brand") and the type of travellers in our region, Digital Ambassadors can undertake some specifics to promote their favourite areas and activities, and engage with travellers on social media. Most attendees at my presentation are doing a combination of these activities already:

  • Share inspiring photos with media outlets that reach general travellers; commonly:
    • Destination BC, @hellobc, #explorebc
    • Global BC, @GlobalBC, #globalbc
    • Northern BC Tourism (@Northern British Columbia on Facebook), @travelnorthernbc #travelnorthernbc
    • CKPG News (for the close region), #CKPGsnapshot
  • Share/create content for industry or interest specific sites: e.g., mountain biking articles and videos for Pinkbike.
  • Keep us at Tourism PG in the loop! We're always happy to hear about your activities as a content creator. Specifically, tag your photos with #takeonPG on Twitter. We're able to share those posts directly to our new Tourismpg.com website: not just on the #takeonPG page, but also on the pages for specific locations or activities.
  • Get involved with relevant conversations, encourage travellers to post more, and answer questions where you can on social media channels like
    • TripAdvisor
    • YouTube
    • Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
    • Questions & Answers of P.G. (Facebook)
    • Hell Yeah Prince George (Facebook)
  • Make contributions to Google Maps/Apple Maps (photos, reviews, new locations)
  • Finally, join my group of Digital Ambassadors: we will have bi-weekly informal meetings at a local hangout to collaborate on new ideas, present recent contributions, and track the success of our efforts. This is a volunteer commitment of up to 2 hours per week; you are supplied with an ambassador information pack, cutting edge new TPG merch, and training in any of the above tasks.

The HelloPG program, and becoming a Digital Ambassador, is a great way to collaborate with your peers, engage with visitors, and most likely learn a few new things about your area. If you're interested, please email me, stanyer@tourismpg.com, and simply let me know you would like to join HelloPG as a Digital Ambassador.

Tourism Prince George is pleased to announce the PG Ambassador Program for the summer of 2016

Tourism Prince George is pleased to present the HelloPG Community Ambassador Program. This program will give enthusiastic local ambassadors a new set of tools and skills to do what they love: making new friends and telling people about the area.

Ambassador Updates are a series of bi-weekly e-newsletters that summarize upcoming events, shows, conferences, exhibits and competitions, along with reference material for commonly requested traveller information.

Special Event Ambassadors are equipped with marked clothing, as well as guide books, maps, signage and tablets to help visitors at large events. You will get training and resources to become a local knowledge specialist and support the other volunteers at competitions, festivals, trade-shows and conferences.

Don’t be stumped for answers or caught off guard by questions like, “is the city open in the winter?” A short training session for front-line employees and event volunteers will get you caught up on city and regional tourism info, including attractions, events, trip ideas and, of course, your greatest info resource: Tourism Prince George. As a little extra, we’ll send you updates through the summer so you can deliver the fresh goods to customers and travellers (or discover something new for yourself).

Digital ambassadors are photographers, videographers, writers, Google Maps contributors, and content creators for everything online. Join our network to connect with our staff and show us what you've got. Plus, we hold meetings and workshops so you can collaborate with your peers and take projects to the next level.

The full breadth of this program is made possible through funding from the Destination British Columbia Visitor Services Innovation Fund.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Michael Stanyer: stanyer@tourismpg.com.

 

Photo credit: gh sasaki, 2015 Canada Winter Games

Guardian Aerospace Flight Seeing Tour: This is the backcountry frontier.

I’ve had my share of world travels, but there is no scene so complete, in my mind, as the winding Kitchi Creek, unfurling into the McGregor River from Kakwa Provincial Park, with the towering Mt. Ida presiding over it all.

In October 2015, I took a flightseeing tour with Guardian Aerospace and two other photographers to Kakwa Provincial Park. Our Cesna 172 followed the Torpy River into the mountains east of PG, and on the way we window shopped for what will be years worth of alpine hiking trips. Then, the massive, humbling rock faces of Mount Sir Alexander sprung up around us, and the legendary landscapes of Kakwa seemed just beyond our reach. The park is renowned for its dramatic, mountainous scenery, but also revered for its remoteness. As such, a flight tour in the park is a visual feast for anyone to enjoy, but for a backcountry enthusiast, it’s a must have experience. 

It so happens that Kakwa, the Cree word for “porcupine,” has been on my hiking bucket-list for a few years: an endeavour inspired by recent photography from adventurers before me. Like many recreational areas in the region, this one’s modern access was made by mining and forestry activities, then it was established as a park to protect it from those same industries. To give you a sense of the area’s relatively untravelled newness, its highest peak was not winter-summited until 1990, and it did not receive Class A park status until 1999.

If you’re prone to wilderness wanderlust, a flight seeing tour in the mountains is the ultimate tease. In a couple short hours you will see Arctic Lake and Pacific Lake side by side at the continental divide, scarcely trodden hiking routes, rarely touched mountains and hardly travelled waterways. These inspiring elements are all key to the allure of northern BC’s barely explored adventuring frontier.

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