Wooing the Media

🕔Jul 28, 2006

Jennifer Lewis, Executive Director Terrace Tourism, hadn’t realized the question “What makes your region special?” was such a hard one until she tried to answer it.

“Well, we’ve got beautiful mountains, gorgeous lakes, lots of great trails for biking, hiking—”

“Yeah, so what?” Eric Lucas, the writer doing the interview, interrupted. “So does the rest of BC. What makes Terrace special?”

Ouch, she thought with humour, rallying quickly.

“Red fish and white bears,” she said. Her description of vividly-coloured spawning Sockeye and the Kermode intrigued Lucas. He told her that was exactly what she needed—an imagination-grabbing concise depiction of what sets Northwest BC apart. After all, she’d only have twelve minutes for each appointment, then a buzzer would sound, her interviewer would leave, and another would appear.

The scene of this fast-pitch promotion opportunity was the prestigious Canadian Media Marketplace. This huge annual event, promoting Canada as the best year-round tourist destination to pre-qualified U.S. media of all types, was held this year in Beverly Hills, California.

The invitation-only conference was exhausting, exhilarating, and absolutely worth it, according to enthusiastic Lewis. It was Terrace’s first time, and everyone wanted to see what it had to offer.

“One of the best ways to promote Terrace, not just Terrace, Northern BC, is to point out the variety of cool things to do in this area—untouched, underdeveloped, not commercialized—pristine nature at its best,” Lewis said. “My message was, “come now, so you’ll have twenty years of stories to write as we develop.”

Lewis convinced a Lonely Planet rep that, contrary to their last blurb, Terrace really is worth stopping at (as the next book will say!). And an AAA representative agreed to work on updating maps to show the paved Nisga’a highway, something that will be a huge boon to tourism because rental companies will then allow their RVs to travel the route. These were just two of many positives.

Asked for general promotional advice, Lewis says, “The best thing to attract media to our region is for small businesses to team up with each other and offer our area’s services as a package. Don’t fight over them. And every year think of a new thing to promote.”
Various media groups, enticed by Lewis’ information and sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission and Tourism BC will visit our area, eager to show the world why Northwest BC is a great place to be.