Tuesday, June 9, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 23 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Within the next couple years here I think they’ve got a really good chance to go all the way."
- Rick Rypien  
- on his new contract with   
the Vancouver Canucks   


The Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre (VIC), perched on a hill near the eastern side of Crowsnest Lake and surrounded by beautiful views, is one of the first things visitors from British Columbia see as they enter Alberta and the Pass.
In this visitor-friendly fortress, heavily fortified with informational brochures, four summertime soldiers have taken up their positions. In the battle to promote tourism in Alberta and direct visitors to a positive experience, they are the first line of defence –– and they’re ready, literally, to take on the world.
The VIC opened as of May 15 this year, and on Wednesday, June 3, they hosted a meet ‘n greet with the Chamber of Commerce, which oversees their operation.
Local area resident Wendy Davies, who has returned for a second summer of work at the VIC, says that their visitor numbers have already been strong this year, including quite a few visitors from Germany, Holland, and the United Kingdom. She says there have already been return visitors who remember them from last year, which is fun to see.
“How could I not come back?” says Davies. “It’s such a great place to work. I enjoyed last summer so much.”
The VIC, says Davies, has something for everyone, whether you’re a local business owner or a resident looking for vacation opportunties elsewhere in Alberta –– you might even learn something new about the Crowsnest Pass.
Owners of hotels, restuarants, campgrounds, holiday homes, bed and breakfasts, and other tourism-related businesses are welcome to bring brochures or other informational material to the VIC. The information will be displayed for free.
Lowry Toombs, President of the Chamber of Commerce, says that it’s important to visit the VIC even if you don’t have any brochures to bring. If the staff at the VIC know about your business, he says, they can suggest it to visitors when they are looking for something particular.
“For local tourism-based businesses, there are a number of opportunities,” he says.
The VIC contains many free publications that locals may be interested in as well, including accommodation guides and campground guides for Alberta.
One interesting thing about this year’s four-person staff at the VIC is that everyone involved has a connection to someone else in the group. Both Wendy Davies and Emily Gregory are returning from last year, and are joined by locals Kevin Beech –– who worked with Davies previously at the Bellevue Underground Mine –– and Sam Buckle –– who attended CCHS with Beech.
Sam Buckle has returned home for the summer after her first year studying recreation management in Halifax. Getting experience in the tourism industry will help her in the future, she says.
“We have a really good team here,” says Buckle. “We have a really good dynamic. I’m enjoying it so much, because I learn about so much.”
She says that even though she grew up in the Pass, she has still learned new things about the area at this job.
Emily Gregory, a bilingual student who attends the University of Alberta, is earning an undergraduate degree in French and Psychology. She has returned to the Pass for the second summer at the VIC.
“I really enjoyed myself down here last year,” she says. “It’s a really nice summer job. I like getting out of the city.”
Gregory is in charge of organizing the VIC’s brochures, and encourages people to bring in theirs. She says that there is not always enough space to display them all at the same time, but they rotate all the brochures they have throughout the summer. She estimates that the VIC carries as many as 500 to 600 brochures.
Kevin Beech, a Crowsnest Pass resident, is currently attending the University of Lethbridge, earning a music degree with a minor in finance. He says that he knows people who have worked at the VIC before, and had heard that it was a great summer job.
Beech has previously worked at the Bellevue Underground Mine, and says that he enjoys dealing with people, and likes the one-on-one interaction with visitors at the VIC.
He says that even though he has learned a lot about tourism and attractions in the Pass through his previous work, he is still learning a lot of new things at the VIC.
“This is a phenomenal job,” says Beech.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 23 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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