A rugged landscape, varied terrain and endless kilometres of adventure await outdoor enthusiasts living in and visiting the Kamloops area. Having the desire to explore isn’t necessarily enough to get people out, though — knowledge and experience are also needed for safe, accessible journeys.
That’s where fourth-year Bachelor of Tourism Management student Alex Page comes in.
“I believe that there is some great potential for a guided hiking business here in Kamloops,” he says, adding that thanks to the TRU Tourism Innovation Lab and his selection for the Tourism Venture Acceleration Program, he strategically designed a guided hiking business he hopes will soon be available to the public.
“My end goal is to get people out and show them that they have more strength than they know and also how to treat the land with the respect it deserves.”
Page is an international student originally from Richardson, Texas. He is a lover of the outdoors who has backpacked around the world and worked in the adventure industry for many years. Page was employed at a U.S. ski resort when he met a Bachelor of Business Administration student from TRU who suggested he look into the university’s adventure studies program. Immediately hooked on the idea, he’s been loving every moment since his arrival.
Tourism Kamloops team summits Battle Bluff
Recently, Page took a team from Tourism Kamloops on a guided hike up Battle Bluff. As participants made their way up the winding trail, he invited them to take turns leading the way and paused frequently to share tidbits of information on everything from local flora to the best ways to leave no trace behind.
On her personal Facebook page, Tourism Kamloops CEO Monica Dickinson, a TRU alum, described Page’s tour as “informative, engaging, casual and humorous… the perfect ingredients for learning all about our own backyard.”
Along the trail, Dickinson also had the opportunity to speak with John Zubak from Kamloops Innovation about Tourism Kamloops’ involvement and support of the Tourism Venture Acceleration Program.
“This progress is incredible and from our perspective this was our ‘why’ behind participating in the program. To be part of this innovation, watching an idea come to life and then being able to experience it firsthand has been a really great experience for us as a team and us as an organization,” she said. “To see it from end to end is exciting.”
In addition to support from Tourism Kamloops, TRU’s Tourism Innovation Lab has received funding and mentorship from the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI), Sun Peaks Resort LLP, Kamloops Innovation Centre and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.
Two other tourism students were also chosen for this year’s accelerator program. Natalie Boucher pitched her idea for land and soul forest bathing and Adrian Clementino forwarded his plans for guided paddling tours. While wildfires and other complications altered the outcomes of each student’s plans, David Carter, Tourism Management faculty member and director of the TRU Tourism Innovation Lab, says he is confident the positive components will carry on throughout the participants’ careers.
“This program’s impact is significant on the students who participate, as many students refer to the course as an experience that ties together the learnings from other courses in their degrees, and we are truly excited to continue to grow this impact and expand our influence across the campus and region,” he says.