New Tourism Revelstoke position to oversee destination sustainability

Tourism Revelstoke has created a new destination and sustainability manager position in an effort to manage the impacts of tourism in the community.

File photo: Art displays in Grizzly Plaza as part of the 2019 LUNA Fest arts festival. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Revelstoke is a heritage town with a unique outdoor adventure and tourist destination blend. Rail, lumber, and transportation industries are also part of the town’s heritage and make Revelstoke an exciting destination. With increased tourist visitation, more dollars are going into businesses, and more people recognize the town’s uniqueness. However, if the influx takes away from the city’s livability, Revelstoke becomes more of an established tourism destination, like many mountain towns in B.C., and loses that sense of blended economy.

With these issues in mind, Tourism Revelstoke is launching a new Destination Management Plan they say is designed to better manage tourism and visitation in Revelstoke. To help develop the plan, they have created a new Destination and Sustainability Manager position to supervise its rollout. Tourism Revelstoke’s Robyn Goldsmith will be moving into the newly created role from her current position as Brand and Content manager.

Robyn Goldsmith, the new Destination & Sustainability Manager for Tourism Revelstoke

Tourism Revelstoke believes the new position is important to their effort to manage the increase in tourist visitation and the community’s concerns. The Destination Management Plan, once drafted, will try to keep Revelstoke both competitive and sustainable as a tourist destination. 

“We’re getting more popular as a tourism destination and certainly gaining recognition. Our marketing efforts have been successful, and we’re seeing people increasingly looking for adventure experiences,” Goldsmith said in an interview with Mountaineer staff. 

With more visitation to Revelstoke, Tourism Revelstoke seeks to mitigate the negative impacts it could have on the community. 

“I think the impacts to anyone living here are really obvious. Our number one is the housing crisis that is impacting our local businesses as well as our residents. That’s directly contributing to a lack of staff in a lot of our businesses,” Goldsmith says. “Just livability in Revelstoke, ensuring that our residents are top of mind and that their home and their sense of place isn’t compromised as we become a more popular destination.”

The new destination management plan intends to manage the relationship between its residents and visitors through data collection and feedback from residents and core sectors. Goldsmith will work to figure out how many visitors the city can accommodate without harming Revelstoke both as a destination and a place to live.  

“I’m trying to attract the right kind of visitor, the people who are aligned with our values, who want to spend locally, who want to really contribute to our community.” Goldsmith said it was about, “making sure that the people we have come in here, rather than being more quantity of visitors, are higher quality and really appreciate Revelstoke for what it is.”

New climate impact focus

File photo: An air charter service picks up visitors at the Revelstoke Airport. Photo: Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo/Everything Revelstoke

As the Destination & Sustainability manager, Goldsmith will help develop solutions for Revelstoke, saying she is passionate about the tourism industry’s responsibility to be accountable on a large scale.

“Tourism is responsible for about 8% of worldwide carbon emissions. It would be great to see the industry having a more proactive role in curbing some of those emissions or at least giving back to environmental regeneration projects,” Goldsmith says. 

Currently, Tourism Revelstoke is working with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism, a company that helps tourism destinations and businesses measure their sustainability performance, to create a sustainability action plan for Revelstoke. The project will include incentives for businesses to take actions toward reducing their carbon footprint and creating opportunities for residents and visitors alike to use environmentally friendly transportation. 

With the new Destination Management Plan and position, Tourism Revelstoke hopes to broaden its scope as a destination marketing organization with plans to create sustainable middle-class jobs that offer economic opportunities without infringing on the town’s other base economic industries. 

“Focusing more on management gives us a little bit more dedicated focus to issues that are coming up that fell outside of that marketing mandate,” Goldsmith says. “It switches the lens a little bit so that we’re more receptive to concerns, and we’re more proactive in creating avenues for tourism to create positive changes rather than just having negative effects.“

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Nora Hughes is a recent graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Interdisciplinary Program, where she combined her passions for Adventure Tourism, Communications and Journalism. With a strong interest in community news, Nora is passionate about giving a voice and face to the people of Revelstoke through storytelling.