Volunteers at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre clean off some chairs as part of their Thanksgiving Back work with Tourism Revelstoke. (Zachary Delaney/Revelstoke Review)

Volunteers at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre clean off some chairs as part of their Thanksgiving Back work with Tourism Revelstoke. (Zachary Delaney/Revelstoke Review)

Tourism Revelstoke’s campaign worked to foster regenerative tourism

Guerilla marketing and Thanksgiving Back, Tourism Revelstoke tried to foster regenerative tourism

As Tourism Revelstoke enjoys a brief pause between the two main tourism seasons in town, they reflected on one of their most successful shoulder seasons ever.

With plenty of winter activities and summer activities, Revelstoke has two major tourism seasons. In an attempt to offset the dramatic effect of the drop in local revenue in the fall and spring, Tourism Revelstoke sought new ways to create regenerative tourism. Their campaign included two main methods: a guerilla marketing campaign to highlight local organizations, and the Thanksgiving Back.

“It’s essential for tourism destinations to support and give back to their communities,” said Tourism Revelstoke in a press release.

The first of Tourism Revelstoke’s method, guerilla marketing, played out largely online, especially Instagram.

Scouring Instagram for visitors who posted content of themselves in Revelstoke, including pictures and videos, the team at Tourism Revelstoke would pick out a post and comment a reply. In their reply, they would plug a relevant Revelstoke non-profit organization to the post.

For example, if the poster had been mountain biking on a Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA) maintained trail, they would reply to the post, tagging the RCA. The group would then provide a brief description of what the organization did, so in the RCA example, they’d explain how they build and maintain mountain bike trails around Revelstoke. The cherry on top for the NPO was that for each comment that Tourism Revelstoke posted, they would donate $100 to the NPO in the name of the poster.

In a press release about the initiative, Tourism Revelstoke said that this was a new way for them to prompt visitors to consider the resources they were enjoying.

“This campaign prompts people to think about responsible recreation and to consider the effort that goes into maintaining outdoor spaces, while also raising money for local NPOs,” said the press release.

The second method that Tourism Revelstoke employed was the return of Thanksgiving Back, for the second year running, which was a success.

Thanksgiving Back is a good example of the kind of regenerative tourism that Tourism Revelstoke wants to continue doing.

“My wife saw it on social media. And we decided to try it and see what happens,” said Andy Hooker, a returning volunteer from the previous year.

Of the program, Hooker said “it makes it worthwhile” to visit Revelstoke.

Thanksgiving Back operated over two weekends in September and October. Volunteers could pick where they wanted to help, with options to volunteer with the RCA, the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre, the Columbia-Shuswap Invasive Species Society, the Revelstoke Railway Museum, the Local Food Initiative, and the Revelstoke Railway Museum.

By tracking visitor spending over those weekends, Tourism Revelstoke estimated a $50,000 were spent locally over the two weekends, alone.

In their press release, Tourism Revelstoke said that Thanksgiving Back would return again next year, after the success this year.

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