This article first appeared in print in the June 2023 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
Tourism Revelstoke’s new Destination Management Plan comes with one rather lofty goal attached to it: “house everyone who is in Revelstoke to build community” within five years.
Intended to uncover the community’s long-term vision “in a way that inspires immediate action to make Revelstoke a better place for visitors and residents”, the plan outlines five year and 50-year goals, along with action steps to work towards those goals and outcomes.
The Destination Management Plan cumulates a year of effort that saw Tourism Revelstoke work with consultants from Destination Think to engage residents and create a plan that ensures tourism offers a mutual benefit to the community. To create the plan, Tourism Revelstoke engaged community through various activities including hosting film screenings, a podcast, resident interviews, a survey, and an elementary school project.
A statement issued by Tourism Revelstoke near the end of May said housing emerged as a central concern of residents, transcending generations, industry and economics. “Our community faces a housing crisis, and the central, audacious goal of the Destination Management Plan is to is to ‘house everyone who is in Revelstoke to build community’ within five years.”
“To spur action, we need ambition. It is going to need everything we’ve got as a community. But we can’t ignore it any longer,” said Robyn Goldsmith, destination and sustainability manager with Tourism Revelstoke. “We need to house people to keep our community functioning. We need to protect the people who’ve built Revelstoke and continue to contribute to this community. And I know that we value community above all else. I am confident we can achieve this goal with dedicated resources, collaboration, and focus.”
Goldsmith said there are organizations working on housing, but with a lack of funding, resources, and coordination. She commended the City of Revelstoke for hosting the Housing Summit earlier this spring, which saw presentations from several communities working on housing. She pointed to Revelstoke’s own housing action plan, and to a few dedicated individuals, including city planner Paul Simon and community development coordinator Taha Attiah, for their efforts so far.
“Our first step over the coming months is to work with and coordinate relevant stakeholders (including the Employee Housing Society and Revelstoke Community Housing Society), to identify and fill data gaps and to ensure we are bolstering rather than competing with existing efforts,” said Goldsmith. “This plan and our bold ambitious goal offer a gun shot to instigate action. We can’t wait any longer on addressing our community’s most critical challenge.”
In the statement issued in late May, Tourism Revelstoke noted plans to launch a campaign “over the next 30 days” that includes a donation to Community Connections to help support the food bank and mental health programming, a housing workshop and research on some of the early policy steps identified in the plan. Goldsmith said for the average community member, there will be both immediate impacts, as well as impacts which will be slower to materialize.
“Residents can look for more tourism funding being spent on initiatives that offer direct resident and community benefit. For example, a greater investment in housing, events that are popular with residents and local community non profit organizations,” said Goldsmith.
In the short-term community members will see more opportunities for direct feed back through an ongoing resident feedback survey that will be implemented into Tourism Revelstoke’s website (seerevelstoke.com). Longer term, Goldsmith said residents can look for better metrics and measurement with respect to Revelstoke’s tourism economy with more money staying in the community and “ongoing efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism that are already apparent.”
Funding for the donation to support the food bank and mental health programming will come via a recently announced increase to the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT). The MRDT is a tax paid by visitors to Revelstoke staying in a hotel or short-term rental accommodation. On May 1, 2023, Revelstoke began collecting MRDT at three per cent and increased the collection area to include Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area B. Goldsmith said Tourism Revelstoke committed to putting the increase in funding towards destination management initiatives guided by the Destination Management Plan.
Events planned include housing workshop, Thanksgiving Back, working with Indigenous Peoples
Goldsmith said in addition to a housing workshop, which is being scheduled for September and will be announced once the date is finalized, there are also several other workshops and activities planned. This includes a workshop for tourism stakeholders with respect to work with Indigenous Peoples on June 16. The popular Thanksgiving Back, which provides tourism visitors a change to be part of the Revelstoke community by volunteering with local organizations on sanctioned projects, will return September 23–24 and September 30–October 1. Several early items were already underway at the time of publication, including sustainable funding for Arts Revelstoke, a budget review for Tourism Revelstoke, visitor education and messaging, a trial Indigenous Tourism Experience and a Climate and Tourism 101 presentation that took place during Tourism Revelstoke’s annual general meeting, held in mid-May.
“We welcome input and encourage our community to view this as a living document. We don’t want this [plan] to live on a shelf, but rather want it to work in tandem with our community’s growth and development. Please provide feedback, additional action items, and work with us.”
You can view the Destination Management plan at: