Port Alberni has launched a new marketing campaign to promote exploration of the community.
A new $33,863 campaign called #ExplorePortAlberni is funded in part by a grant from Destination BC, along with contributions from Alberni Valley Tourism, the City of Port Alberni and other parties.
Seekers Media was contracted to do some film work, and spent three days filming in Port Alberni under three themes: a tour of the ancient village of Kiixin, “getting high” in Port Alberni (in a glider and hiking to the lookout) and arts and culture.
Seekers Media is one of Canada’s leading content production and content marketing companies. It collaborates with different destinations across Canada using campaigns divided into three brands: SnowSeekers, FestivalSeekers and ZenSeekers.
Seekers Media founder Jim Barr describes ZenSeekers as “the guide to travel that transforms you.” The company was started about a year ago to promote the best of Alberta and British Columbia’s zen-filled experiences.
This is the second year that ZenSeekers has partnered with the City of Port Alberni to raise the profile of the community and grow the visitor economy. As Barr explained, Port Alberni is currently in a transition from a resource-based economy and trying to find a new vision.
“In a community like Port Alberni, there’s this attitude that there’s nothing to do there,” said Barr. “But over the past few days we’ve been pretty busy here—there is tonnes of stuff to do. We want to promote that and bring those stories to travellers.”
The first day featured a tour of Kiixin, a 5,000-year-old village on Huu-ay-aht lands near Bamfield. Kiixin is the site of a nineteenth century village and fortress that has evidence of occupation dating to 1000 B.C.E. and is the only known First Nations village on the west coast of southern B.C. that still features significant, standing traditional architecture.
The second day started with a glider flight with the Vancouver Island Soaring Centre, seeing the city of Port Alberni from above. This was followed by a hike to the Lookout, then a “craft beer break” at Twin City Brewing.
The third day was focused on arts and culture, starting with a demonstration of First Nations Carving, then a sea glass workshop at Coastal Flow Glass Co. The group also visited DRAW Gallery and finished the day at the Rollin Art Centre for a high tea on the terrace.
ZenSeekers collaborated with Rebecca Bollwitt, also known as Miss604, in Port Alberni last week and during last year’s filming. Bollwitt has been blogging about B.C. life since 2004 and is recognized as B.C.’s most award-winning blogger.
“It feels like we did a week’s worth of stuff just in one day,” she laughed. “Our itinerary has been packed. It seems like there’s an endless amount of hikes, and it’s nice to learn about arts and culture this time.”
The three days of tourism will be transformed into a video series to promote Port Alberni and encourage people to visit the community this summer.
The city is encouraging all social media users to visit the #ExplorePortAlberni channels, then ‘like,’ ‘share’ and ‘comment’ on the content.
“We’re launched into a full-on push with social media on a number of fronts this year,” said Port Alberni’s economic development manager Pat Deakin during a council meeting on Monday, May 13. “This is one of those.”