Township exit from Tourism Langley would be ‘baffling’

City Coun. Gayle Martin says the agency is already ‘Township-centric’

Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin called the Township move toward leaving Tourism Langley “baffling” and unexpected, saying it has forced a halt to an about-to-launch promotional campaign.

The Township of Langley’s move toward leaving the Tourism Langley agency it shares with Langley City was called “baffling” on Monday by City Coun. Gayle Martin.

Last month, Township mayor Jack Froese confirmed that the larger municipality was considering leaving Tourism Langley to “explore an alternative tourism model, (one) that would be more Township-centric.”

A decision is expected by the end of the year.

Coun. Martin, who represents the City on the Tourism Langley board of directors, said Tourism Langley already devotes most of its efforts to promoting the Township.

“I can attest to the fact that between 85 and 90 per cent of Tourism Langley is Township-centric,” Martin told council.

“Furthermore, the board of directors (of Tourism Langley) has never had any dialogue with the Township where they have stated they are unhappy with the content of Tourism Langley, which is baffling, given their plan to break up Tourism Langley,” Martin added.

Martin said the announcement by the Township has put a “$100,000-plus” Tourism Langley promotional campaign on hold, “which in my opinion is 95 per cent Township-centric.”

“All we can do at this point is wait and see, and hope that decision does not go through,” Martin said.

Tourism Langley released a letter to the Township that called the announcement of a potential exit “surprising,” because the agency was in the final stages of negotiating a new five-year funding agreement with the provincially-funded Destination BC agency.

The letter from Tourism Langley board chair Teri James urged the Township to re-consider leaving.

“Tourism Langley has created a robust and respected brand in the tourism community, and we are confident we can continue to deliver vibrant tourism marketing, programs and projects on behalf of the Langleys accommodation sector and local businesses now and in the future,” James wrote.

In response to a Times query, the Township of Langley reported it spends an average of $366,000 a year on Tourism Langley plus a $51,000 fee-for-service payment, while the City reported spending $140,000 plus a fee-for-service of $15,000.

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