It’s a small van with a big role.
The city’s freshly refurbished Chevy van, resplendent in teal and orange in keeping with the city’s brand, adorned in images of Salmon Arm attributes and activities, is on the road and ready to meet and greet.
Sapphire Games, the city’s visitor services coordinator, said she’s happy about the van, with mobile outreach being one component of the city’s new visitor service strategy.
“I love the van. I think the design really represents Salmon Arm as a whole. All the different activities we do here, whether it be music, walking down our beautiful wharf, fishing, hiking, biking, birds, wine tours – it kind of has everything on there.”
Words on the vehicle announce: “#Small city, big adventure.”
The back of the van is set up to hold signage, a table, a bench, a tent to go over the top and information to hand out. It also has a spot for bicycles that Games or the two summer students who are helping to facilitate the program can use to reach visitors.
“So we just pull up and take everything out – it’s a mobile visitor centre on wheels,” she said.
Along with going to parks, events and other tourist spots, she said the van and mobile outreach team are available to come to businesses.
”We can come to their location for a four-hour time slot in July or August and provide visitor information at their location,” Games said.
There’s no charge for the service. She encouraged people to call the visitor centre to book.
The visitor centre is another component of the visitor services strategy. It’s the ‘bricks and mortar’ site now located at city hall, which can be accessed through the Law Courts’ back entrance on the Okanagan Avenue side.
“We would sure appreciate it if more businesses would drop off their brochures. We’re just getting set up there,” she added.
The third component of the strategy is the online outreach component – live chat, the website and social media.
“We’re going to be launching our live chat next week,” Games said June 18. “By the end of the week we should have that going, as well as our new website landing page.”
Games said she’s on a 10-month contract for now. In December, council members will vote to decide if they’re going to continue running the program through the city or if it will be contracted out again to an entity such as the chamber of commerce.