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

RedRover talks animal care

Nicole Forsyth, Executive Director of RedRover, spoke in the Burns Lake Public… Continue reading

Alternative arts fest at LDSS

Lakes District Secondary School held its Alternative Arts Festival on May 28.… Continue reading

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

RDBN opts to join entrepreneur immigration pilot scheme

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) will back a candidate under the… Continue reading

Ultrasound for Burns Lake hospital possible, Northern Health says

Northern Health is considering the possibility of bringing ultrasound services to the… Continue reading

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read