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Shuswap Destination Rides a Different Wavelength

Market Index Reveals New Opportunities for Lakeside Region to Flex the Full Strength of its Experience

Man jumps on diving board
Shuswap Tourism’s new Destination Marketing and Development Strategy 2028 is focused on creating a visitor economy that’s sustainable and attractive. With the help of the Travel Local Collective, a new market growth index is making the community’s case for a region-wide investment focus on sector growth opportunities in seasons where market share is up for grabs. Credit: Shuswap Tourism

A new community strategy is giving Shuswap tourism managers the wave power they need to focus on a new range of experiences at a time when the destination is finding itself in troubled waters. 


Shuswap Tourism’s new Destination Marketing and Development Strategy 2028 is focused on creating a visitor economy that’s sustainable and attractive. Titled +Waves, the focus also supports a competitive advantage in completely new and underleveraged arenas of opportunity.


With the help of the Travel Local Collective, a new market growth index is making the community’s case for a region-wide investment focus on sector growth opportunities in seasons where market share is up for grabs. Harnessing latent strengths in hiking, culinary, culture, biking and birding will be key, so will sharing the best bites of the Shuswap. 


“We’re ready to flex the full strength of the Shuswap experience,” says Morgen Matheson, Manager, Shuswap Tourism & Film Commission. “We’ve got an army of problem-solvers who love this place and have been waiting for a long time to jump in with their ideas.”


The region is a major summer lakeside lifestyle destination. Busy and at capacity, investments aimed at growing summer numbers would put too much strain on a region already wrestling with lake water quality issues, elevated wildfire risks and ongoing remediation efforts to overcome last year’s devastating interface fires, and drought.  


Knowing it will take a community-powered approach to rise above, community engagement was deep and extensive. Using Travel Local’s new NET + destination development approach,  mixed-methods research and engagement delivered an estimated 5,000 primary data points that served as the backbone for new ideas and important shifts.


Part of the effort, a destination brand audit revealed that greater collaboration and laddering up the market power of destination brands within the Shuswap region present significant opportunities and upside provided destination players are willing

to work together efficiently and effectively on a common focus.


Greater collaboration includes a new highbar for economic reconciliation in the region, and work to foster the Secwépemc Indigenous economy has already started. 


Shuswap Tourism has launched a pilot project with Indigenous Worx to help foster Indigenous entrepreneurship.  Called Full Circle, the program is offering local entrepreneurs business coaching and mentorship to help them get their business ideas off the ground. 

Indigenous Business Startup Support
Shuswap Tourism has launched a pilot project with Indigenous Worx to help foster Indigenous entrepreneurship.  Called Full Circle, the program is offering local entrepreneurs business coaching and mentorship to help them get their business ideas off the ground. 

Destination managers are particularly hopeful that there will be interest in starting an Indigenous wildcrafting tour that can support the region’s food tourism development focus.


Changing the yardstick for progress will see the destination measuring well-being, not growth, as its primary measure of destination health. 


Using the Tourism and Resident Quality of Life Index (TQOL), Shuswap Tourism will be relying on one of the global tourism industry’s top methods for measuring sentiments about their visitor economy’s sustainability and tourism’s impact on everyday life in their community. 


Given that more small business means more local jobs, the new focus is also aiming to empower local business operators with the support they need to pursue scale efficiencies on their own whether that involves sourcing inputs more locally or working together to cut costs.

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