China will be getting a taste of the Shuswap’s houseboating lifestyle.
Shuswap Tourism played host to Travel Channel China and National Geographic China for a luxury, two-day tour of the Shuswap and Mara lakes to promote the region.
Tourism BC and the Canadian Tourism Commission selected the Shuswap for one of their “Canada – You Can Be a Star” promotion, which is designed to increase awareness of unique activities in Canada to the fast-growing independent travel segment in China.
The promotion involved selecting a Chinese couple who spent time in the Shuswap, filmed by Travel Channel China, the premier travel TV channel in China with a viewing audience of more than 300 million.
The selection of the couple involved a public voting process reviewed by CTC (Canadian Tourism Commission) and Travel Channel China. They were short-listed for live auditions in front of a celebrity panel on May 26 (American Idol style).
The couple who spent time in the Shuswap was fun-loving and had an adventurous spirit; they will each be featured in at least five program episodes on the China Travel Channel.
“China is a large tourism market for Canada and the Shuswap region will be showcased to over 300 million people in China,” says Wendy Byhre, Shuswap Tourism marketing co-ordinator. “China is looking for new adventures to explore and this film will reveal the diversity of the Shuswap region and the wonderful adventures that exist here.
“The Chinese market was untapped until now and this is our first tourism experience with China. Tapping into this market will provide many opportunities for local businesses in the region.”
In addition to the China Travel Channel, the promotion is being covered through National Geographic Traveller magazine and many social media sites such as RenRen, Kaixin (similar to Facebook), Dourban and sina-weibo and P1 (Twitter).
Waterway Houseboats provided their largest and most luxurious 94-foot “Legacy” houseboat for this tour. It comes complete with a furnished boardroom, video conferencing potential, 14-foot ceilings, granite counter tops, enlarged hot tub, 42-inch plasma TV, a chandelier and six staterooms.
Food was provided by local businesses including Sage Catering, the Shuswap BBQ Company, the Blue Canoe Bakery, while beverages came from Shuswap wineries and the Barley Station Brew Pub.
Tourism officials raved about the Shuswap experience.
“I can honestly say in the eight years that I have been working with Tourism BC, that these past couple of days rate in the top three B.C. travel/vacation experiences,” says Rick Graham of Tourism BC. “I’d absolutely bring more media to showcase this unique and luxurious way to vacation.”