Changes afoot for Tourism Langley

The way people access information about their desired tourism destinations is evolving, and so must the Langley organization funneling much of that local information to the masses.

The amenities that attract people to visit Langley are increasing, with more facilities each year offering uniquely products and services – whether that’s through agri-tourism, retail operations, or destination attractions – explained Deborah Kulchiski, executive director of Tourism Langley.

But, how people are finding out about these services and products has shifted so significantly in recent years that the team at Tourism Langley is having to dramatically change how it do its job, she said.

At present, the Tourism Langley office is located in the Langley Events Centre, and while that location during the past four years has been instrumental in increasing visibility and awareness to the fledgling umbrella organization, societal changes have spelled an end to the need for such a high-profile location, said Tourism Langley president Angie Quaale.

Bottom line, fewer and fewer people are actually stopping in at the actual visitor information centre, instead gaining much of what they need on the Internet, and in fact much of it via their mobile devises.

Consequently, the president said: “we recently gave our notice to leave our premises at the LEC and relocate the Tourism Langley offices to a new location that, perhaps, doesn’t provide the same model of visitor servicing that people are used to seeing.

“As visitors and locals alike receive more and more of their information from the world wide web, Tourism Langley can continue to provide excellent services levels from a less conspicuous office space, freeing up more of our time and resources to be attending more community events and providing a more hands-on approach,” said Quaale, who founded and continues to host one of the community’s larger events each fall in the form of her Barbecue on the Bypass.

While Tourism Langley is planning to relocate before March 2015, Kulchiski said a lot of their energies are already being refocused to serve visitors and all Tourism Langley’s community partners through an increased web presence – including a social media blitz.

While constant amenity and event updates are being made to <> , a lot of the agency’s resources have been allocated to reaching out through social media initiatives such as the new, year-long #langleyfresh campaign aimed at engaging residents and visitors alike to share how they see Langley through items on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media.

Kulchiski said she’s been overwhelmed by the level and types of participation, and is feeling confident in the changes underway at Tourism Langley.

• Langley growing as sports destination

In the meantime Langley continues to grow as a tourism destination.

It boast a wide range of crowd-pleasing tourism amenities, such the Greater Vancouver Zoo, the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and Cascades Casino.

Langley’s popularity as an event host also continues to blossom – in part due to events like the well-established Langley Good Times Cruise-In car show, the Canada Day festivities, Arts Alive, and the Cranberry Festival. These and other festivals and events keep drawing thousands of new people each year to discover what Langley has to offer.

This combination of the tourism amenities, festivals, high-calibre events, and arts and historic attractions – peppered with the mix of shopping options and natural amenities such an extensive weave of trails –  positions Langley well as a popular destination, Kulchiski said.

But one of largest areas of tourism growth in Langley has, without question, been on the sports front, Quaale explained.

 â€œAs interest and participation in sport grows within the leisure industry, the desire of people to travel to compete in or to view sporting events has grown significantly,” she said, noting that “Langley truly continues to shine and excel as a destination for sports.”

Whether people are coming to paddle on the Fraser River, cycle through the farm and wine country of South Langley, or play team sports on the fields or in arenas, gyms, or state-of-the-art recreation facilities around the community, every visitor is helping Langley is now earning distinction as a sporting mecca.

In record numbers, athletes and their families have been discovering Langley as a place to play, Kulchiski said.

On that front, it didn’t hurt that Langley played host to the 2010 BC Winter Games, the 2013 BC Special Olympics, or that hundreds of older athletes are expected here this fall for the BC Seniors Games.

On the national level, Langley also hosted the Canadian Legion track and field championships in 2013, and continues to host some of the country’s most noteworthy equestrian competitions at Thunderbird Show Park.

And, of course, Langley Events Centre is playing a key role in building this community’s sporting reputation, especially with the addition of the Vancouver Stealth and national lacrosse play.

Whether people are a sport fanatic, an avid golfer, outdoor enthusiast, or weekend warrior, Langley has something for everyone, Kulchiski said. And numbers indicate that more and more people are discovering it.

“I believe it is safe to state that one doesn’t have to look beyond our own backyard to feel confident in the fact that 2014 is slated to be a promising year,” she said.

“The tourism industry in Langley finished 2013 on a very strong note, and the view of our ongoing potential and future possibilities remains bright.”

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