Why TRU tourism class is way off base on Tournament Capital

Save Canada's Tournament Capital. (City of Kamloops website photo)

Save Canada’s Tournament Capital. (City of Kamloops website photo)

Interesting story in today’s Daily News about the Canada’s Tournament Capital brand.

TRU lecturer David Carter has assigned his tourism-management class to come up with a new marketing program for Kamloops. Interesting assignment, but the premise behind it is shallow and just plain off base.

The story quotes Kaethan Reichel of Kamloops Innovation Centre as saying, “This is a conversation that we as a city need to be having, but sometimes it feels as though the tournament capital brand is untouchable or a taboo subject.”

Hello? I’m guessing Reichel is new to Kamloops and hasn’t been around for the dozens of brain-storming sessions and public debates over branding the city, nor aware of the many past “brands” such as “Hub City,” “Lake a Day for As Long As Yo Stay,” “Heart of the West,” etc. etc.

The issue, as presented to the students, is that Tournament Capital doesn’t say enough about Kamloops and what it has to offer. Let me explain this again: No slogan can hope to capture the full “essence” of a city. And no city has to be just one thing.

Kamloops is the legitimate (and copyrighted) tournament capital of Canada. It’s also got great arts amenities. And is a great place to do business. And is a golf mecca. And an outdoor recreation wonderland. And boasts some of the best fly-fishing lakes in the world. And has become a technology incubator.

Try sticking all that in a logo. It’s a fatal mistake to try marketing a city to all demographics and interest groups at once. Target the specific markets. A city is different things to different people. You don’t sell a two-door convertible to a family of five.

The Tournament Capital program is a stupendous success. Millions of dollars in local, provincial and federal funding have created the facilities and programs to back it up, and millions are coming back in revenue. It works. Leave it alone.

Now, class, if you want to come up with a few other ideas on how to emulate that success in other areas of marketing the city, please proceed.


About Mel Rothenburger (9238 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on Why TRU tourism class is way off base on Tournament Capital

  1. Tourism Kamloops has also developed a strong tourism brand for the city. They recognize the Tournament Capital as the sports brand for the city which resonated well with that market. “Playtime redefined” has been resonating well with the leisure market that Tourism Kamloops is trying to attract. Check their website for the amazing things to do in our city.

  2. John O'Fee // April 12, 2013 at 6:05 PM // Reply

    As somebody else who was in the room when this was decided, one also has to consider the subtext to that message. By saying you are a tournament destination you are also describing your city as active, dynamic, fitness oriented and having terrific volunteers who care about where they live. That’s all pretty hard to fit on the side of a coffee mug but “Canada’s Tournament Capital” does the job nicely.

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