How to sell British Columbia
By Charlotte Flach
British Columbia is packed with breathtaking scenery and wildlife, but also packs a punch with its heritage and apres ski offerings
Why sell it
With its vast landscapes dotted with verdant greenery, imposing mountain ranges and fringed by the dramatic Pacific coastline, British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, champions the concept of the great outdoors year-round.
With a growing trend for open spaces and peace and quiet on holiday, travellers will be drawn to the region’s unrivalled nature escapes. But those who enjoy dipping their toes into a destination’s rich history and culture scene, won’t be left disappointed either.
Not only is British Columbia very safe for tourists, it offers a transformational experience, says Lisa Cooper, Account Director at Destination British Columbia.
“Visitors will experience The ‘BC Effect’; that is what we call what happens to us when we experience the awe-inspiring power of British Columbia’s nature and unique culture.”
Who to sell to
Cooper recommends the destination for couples, especially those who are in the over-45 age group.
“It’s also ideal for families with older children, for example, as a last family holiday before children move out of home or go away to university,” she says. Whilst outdoor enthusiasts looking for adventure will love the range of hikes, water activities and wintersport options.
Cooper advises agents to work with specialist tour operators for these kinds of trips as they will have a variety of sample itineraries and can pre-book activities and wildlife tours. “Play the long game – it may take time to convert a booking with itinerary changes, but it will be worth it.”
What to sell
With its ten distinct mountain ranges, over 25,000km of rugged Pacific coastline and with close to 25% of the world’s temperate rainforest, Mother Nature is in full force in British Columbia.
“Mountain experiences range from the Coastal Mountains, where the Pacific is overlooked by towering cliffs, to the eastern alpine playgrounds of the Canadian Rockies and beyond,” says Cooper. “Even urban areas are flanked by snow-capped mountains, providing a sublime backdrop to a city break.”
Chic boutique hotel The Larix recently opened in downtown Kimberley, between the Purcell and Rocky mountains, and with easy access to craft brewery Grist & Mash, it makes for a great base.
Travellers can visit the Great Bear Rainforest or explore a multitude of rare and unique wildlife experiences and encounters. Orca, whales, seals, sea lions, and porpoises call the oceans home here, while bears including the White Kermode ‘Spirit’ Bear, Grizzlies, and Black Bears roam the forested areas.
An array of popular sporting and leisure activities includes golf and fishing, while niche activities such as ranching can also be booked.
How to sell
“British Columbia is predominantly a road trip destination – either by car or RV,” advises Cooper. Options include the Sea-to-Sky Highway along the coast from Vancouver to Whistler and the famous Route 97, North America’s longest continuous north-south highway, stretching through British Columbia’s orchard and wine region – the Okanagan Valley – and on to Alaska.
“I also recommend Trans-Canada Highway 1 for big mountains, high octane views and outdoor adventures,” she adds.
This can all be combined with other modes of transport, such as a rail trip or Alaskan cruise along the Inside Passage.
“VIA Rail offers two routes from the coast to the Canadian Rockies, one starting in Vancouver, the other in Prince Rupert. And Rocky Mountaineer offers three scenic routes from Vancouver to Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies,” says Cooper.
When to sell
As always, it’s important to book early, as availability at Bear Lodges often sell out, says Cooper. “For better availability, encourage clients to travel in June for post- hibernation bear viewing with their cubs. September is the peak season for bear viewing to coincide with the salmon run.”
The ski season runs from late November to April, with early booking offers often available between June and August.
The ‘Powder Highway’- a circular route through the Kootenay Rockies - has a huge concentration of ski resorts and apres ski.
Winter enthusiasts can wind down in the new Apres Apres cocktail bar in Whistler whilst adrenalin-seekers will love the new heli-ski destination CMH Purcel.