The first Rocky Mountaineer Vacations train rolls into Quesnel in a little more than a month and we had better be ready.
If there is one thing that’s going to put Quesnel on the tourism map, RMV is it.
It’s anticipated 3,600 passengers will visit Quesnel this year and their first impression of our fair community is vitally important.
If they like what they see and experience, they’ll return and they will urge their friends and neighbours to do the same.
If they don’t, they won’t.
Obviously, the former is the preferred reaction.
Given our need to diversify after the beetle-killed wood extraction boom, tourism is going to play a vital role in Quesnel’s economic stability.
It’s important to remember that besides what we offer locally, Quesnel is also the gateway to Barkerville, a high-quality tourist attraction.
It’s also important to realize what our RMV visitors can do for our cash registers.
Kamloops, which is also an RMV stopover, was slow off the mark, especially the downtown business community, but now realizes what a godsend the rail-tour dollars are for their bottom lines.
We encourage local businesses to think long and hard about how they can add to our visitors’ experience and, at the same time, put a little more money in their own pockets.
The Kamloops experience tells us RMV visitors like to stretch their legs after sitting on a train for six to eight hours. They like to have dinner and then check out the shops.
Will they be open?
Those that are will profit; those that don’t will miss out on the fun.
First impressions are important; therefore, we encourage the city to ensure the streets and sidewalks are clean and free of litter.
It’s one of the first things travellers talk about with their friends and we don’t want to be remembered as the quaint town with dust and garbage blowing everywhere.
We can all help in that regard. We can use the garbage receptacles and even bend down to pick up someone else’s litter.
The most important thing we can do is smile and be friendly to our newest set of visitors.