After what Mayor Ted Schaffer acknowledged as a sometimes “bumpy” road, Langley City is ready to go it alone with its own tourism organization.
And consequently Discover Langley City, headed up by operations manager Melissa Phillips, officially launched tonight.
“It was about a year ago that our council began to recognize a need for change and for a shift to a more Langley City-focused approach to tourism,” Schaffer said during the kick-off party at Red Velvet Cafe Thursday.
A few dozen local dignitaries, City business operators, and key people within the provincial tourism organizations came together for the event, and to hear about plans for Langley’s new tourism agency.
“The transition process was lengthy and sometime a bit bumpy, but we as a council are sincerely delighted with the results,” Schaffer said, calling the venture ground-breaking.
“This is the first time in this province that a BIA (Business Improvement Association) is working with its respective local government to provide tourism services for an entire community,” the mayor explained.
Last fall, council announced that it was contracting the Downtown Langley Business Association to oversee operations of the new City-specific tourism organization, and by mid-October, Phillips joined as its first staff person.
Having grown up in Langley and now living in Clayton Heights, Phillips said she is anxious to take on the challenging tasks ahead in her own community.
As a former Tourism Richmond employees, she said she understands the job at hand. She explained that the past few months has been about getting the organization up and operational, developing content for the new website (which launched Jan. 1), launching a strong social media presence, getting to know and work with the players from both the City and the tourism industry, designing brochures and marketing information, and commencing a marketing plan to draw more meetings and conventions to Langley City.
“Tonight was about bringing everyone together to see our vision for how we are going to grow tourism in Langley City,” Phillips said.
“Honestly, there’s a lot of hidden gems in Langley City, that people don’t know about… There’s more to Langley City than just the one way,” she said, confirming it’s Discover Langley City’s job to bring those secrets to the forefront.
Describing Thursday night’s party as a launch pad, she said: “Now, I want to kick some tourism butt.”
Langley City consumes four square miles, surrounded by Langley Township. The two Langleys previously participated together in Tourism Langley, but after extensive reviews, lose of staff, and considerable back and forth between the two councils, the Township opted to stay with the existing Tourism Langley while the City chose to break away and develop its own, new destination tourism agency funded in large part by a room tax collected from the six City motels (340 guest rooms).
Tourism Langley announced the hiring of a new leader, Erinn Kredba, last week. Langley City held the kick off of Discover with its event Thursday night.