Our organization was established as a Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in the 1930s – it is one of the oldest in the province – although marketing Prince Rupert to visitors stretches back to the days of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
We are one of the original seven “grandfathered” two per cent communities. Whistler was the first municipality to begin collecting the additional hotel tax, in 1988, and Prince Rupert followed in 1990. As the 1990s progressed, it became clear that Prince Rupert faced an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Tourism was becoming a more and more complex industry, and gone were the days of simply opening up a visitors’ bureau and trusting to enthusiasm and luck.
In 1998 Tourism Prince Rupert was created as an advisory board that quickly identified that inadequate staffing and budget at the CVB prevented the effective development of tourism in Prince Rupert, and that we needed to join the growing number of communities with Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). Tourism Prince Rupert was incorporated as a non-profit society on November 8, 1999, replacing the CVB, with the mandate, and mission statement, of driving the responsible growth of tourism in Prince Rupert and the Northwest Coast.
Tourism Prince Rupert is membership-driven, with a Board of Directors representing a fluctuating number of between one and two hundred businesses impacted by the tourism industry. Four of our volunteer directors are elected by the membership, with the remaining five appointed by City Council. The Board oversees marketing efforts based on the clear, measurable goals of the Prince Rupert Tourism Plan.
Our Chair is Corey Kitchen (elected), General Manager of the Coast Prince Rupert Hotel. Corey previously served the executive committee as Secretary to the Board, and as Vice-Chair.
Our Vice-Chair is Murray Sheppard (appointed), Terminal Manager of the Prince Rupert terminal of the Alaska Marine Highway System. Murray previously served the executive as Secretary to the Board.
Our Treasurer is now Captain Keith Hopkins (appointed), Marine Superintendent, Fleet Operations, Northern Services, BC Ferries, and our Secretary to the Board is Whitney Magliocchi (elected), Manager of Seashore Charters.
The remainder of the Directors are: Kathy Bedard (appointed), Prince Rupert City Council, and Executive Director, Hecate Strait Development Society.
Sam Bryant, T’mgawsmtkwa (appointed), Artistic Director, Museum of Northern BC.
Hans Buchholz (appointed) is co-owner of Studio 9 Gallery, and Pineridge Bed & Breakfast.
Rodney Proskiw (elected) is owner of Foggy Point Charter Services, and Fishin’ Rods Charters.
Phil Westoby (elected) is Cruise Development Coordinator at the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
There are also two ex-officio, or non-voting, directors of the Board. These are Gord Howie, Prince Rupert City Manager, and Margo Cullen, Cullen Communications, who was elected to eight terms on the Board, served as Secretary to the Board 2003-2006, Chair 2006-2011, and has been retained for one term by the Board as Past Chair.
I was hired as CEO in 2003, having spent almost thirty years as a corporate manager in print and broadcast media. Monika Clifton, MA – Professional Communication, who spent five seasons in the Prince Rupert Visitor Centre before joining Tourism Prince Rupert, has now been Director of Marketing for over three years.
Finally, on behalf of the staff and Board of Directors of Tourism Prince Rupert I would like to send out our very best wishes to Andrée Fawcett and David James, though it is with sadness that we mark the closure of Andrée’s Bed & Breakfast at the end of this season. Andrée devoted much energy to the local tourism industry during her 15 years of operating the B&B, including long service as a TPR Director ending in three terms as Chair (2003-2006).