By Steve Hubrecht

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Tourism Radium will go forward as an official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), and step away from operating as a chamber of commerce.

The organization has served both functions for many years, but during an annual general meeting earlier this month, Tourism Radium members voted in favour of proceeding solely as a DMO.

“As a DMO, Tourism Radium will be focused on bringing Radium and the Columbia Valley, as a destination, to external markets, and attracting visitors,” said Jessica Fairhart, Tourism Radium and Columbia Valley Tourism Marketing Society (CVTMS) executive director.

She added that, in contrast “a chamber of commerce is typically more focussed on business support, business advocacy, and business education and training.”

The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce will now be the single chamber of commerce in the Columbia Valley, which makes things more efficient and straightforward in terms of chamber services, Fairhart told the Pioneer. And with CTVMS, Tourism Radium and the Invermere-Panorama DMO now more closely aligned than in the past, destination marketing will be more streamlined too, she explained. 

“In recent years, it has become clear our community would benefit from a more streamlined and comprehensive approach to both destination marketing and economic development,” said Fairhart. 

Last week Tourism Radium named Patrick Tolchard as its new president. The organization thanked outgoing leader Erin Palashniuk for her five years of service and leadership on the board, in development of the CVTMS and in leading the push for valley-wide tourism marketing. 

In the long run, the transition from operating as DMO and chamber of commerce to operating solely as a DMO will better support tourism operators and businesses in the region through an expanded offering of resources and expertise, Fairhart noted.

“We encourage businesses to continue to work with the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, who focus on business development through training and education, are able to advocate to governments at every level, and have many networking opportunities,” she said.  

Fairhart added that the DMO will work in tandem with partners to amplify events, support local businesses, showcase tourism operators, drive the shoulder season, invest in community nonprofits, and conduct destination development strategies, helping businesses in the area to thrive and grow.  

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