Many of those who visit Snow Lake refer to it as the best-kept secret in the province. This isn’t a fact that is lost on locals; it is part of the reason they moved here and decided to stay. Nevertheless, 15 or so interested individuals met last week with Travel Manitoba reps on how to discern the reasons behind this perception and perhaps bottle it for sale.
Over dinner and small talk in the Snow Lake Motor Inn’s Rose Room, attendees introduced themselves and familiarized each other with Travel Manitoba staff and the evening’s facilitator. Staff in attendance included president and CEO Colin Ferguson, senior vice-president of strategy and market development Brigitte Sandron, Northern Manitoba tourism consultant,Alan McLauchlan and facilitator Lloyd Fridfinnson. Community Futures Greenstone’s general manager Becky Cianflone was also in attendance.
After a fine meal of roast beef and root vegetables, Ferguson called for attention, welcoming participants; he then went over a snapshot of Tourism in Manitoba before introducing the facilitator. Of note, Manitoba is one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world (Lonely Planet designation). It is a $1.6 billion industry that attracts 10.6 million people per year … a portion of that amounting to $116 million and 530,000 visitors is credited to Northern Manitoba. Viewed as an export, tourism holds a rank of fifth in the province, just ahead of wheat.
Mr. Fridfinnson began after supper with a report card on Snow Lake – basically looking to gain perspective on the current state of tourism in the community, areas where it excels and sectors that require work. Products and components were graded from A to F. It was noted that the community and area has an amazing product, but fell off the mark in getting the word out about it.
From there, the group got into debating the pros and cons of an increase in tourism as well as the strengths and weaknesses in respect to the industry. These items were then prioritized by the group. Some of the weaknesses acknowledged were: a lack local content videos on social media and content in general on social media, shift work, family accommodations and accommodations in general, the lack of an in-town campground, our distance off the beaten path, the lack of a local economic development committee, the local attitude towards tourism, and roads. Strengths were seen as an active chamber of commerce, people, a planned in-town campground, some local social media videos, our distance off the beaten path, the inter-community sled trail system, local recreation facilities, a low crime rate, the museum and the community’s north central location.
Following this, attendees got into the area of product development and got busy ranking local products that people should focus on for development. Some that featured prominently were fishing, the beach, ecotourism, snowmobiling, Kate Rice and The Ladybug Garden.
Under the heading brand identity, participants were tasked with coming up with thoughts about Snow Lake that could be incorporated into a brand for the community … just spitballing here, but things such as “Where the hook meets lip,” “Where the track meets trail” or the much-less-enticing, “Where the oil pan meets road,” didn’t feature in the discussion. Nonetheless, there were more than enough ideas put forward that would allow for study in the process of branding the community.
The final discussion of the night revolved around product marketing. Current marketing was defined as the Travel Manitoba video, the chamber’s tourism magazine, lodge videos and word of mouth. Some of the things that are missing were designated as using social media to its fullest potential, print media and signage.
The evening ended with a loose committee being formed to study local economic opportunities, as well as keep the tourism ball in the air by following up on the night’s deliberations. Those in attendance would likely agree that the four hours expended taking part in the strategy session was time well spent.
In other news … Far Resources announced in a Jan. 18, release that they have completed 16 diamond drill holes at the Zoro Lithium Project. The drilling resulted in twofold success, with new discoveries and expansion of known mineralization. In this fifth successful drilling campaign at the Zoro, they have expanded Dyke 8, a high-grade pegmatite dyke discovered last year by Far, and the work led to the discovery of additional spodumene-bearing dykes and unique lithologies suspected of being lithium and cesium-enriched to the north and north west of the existing dyke swarm.
“Three additional drill holes from the planned 21-hole program have also been completed for the collection of core samples for metallurgical testing,” the company noted. “The remaining exploration holes will be drilled in January/February 2019.”
In still further news … the Snow Lake Hospital Auxiliary certainly doesn’t get the props it deserves. Just recently it was brought to light that this amazing bunch of local ladies has, in the past 14 years, raised and donated within Snow Lake an astounding $447,712.34! This just wouldn’t be the same community without these good souls!