Gold Country Communities Society’s new chief operating officer John Hamilton (left) with Terri Hadwin (centre) and board member Steve Rice. Photo: GCCS.

Gold Country Communities Society welcomes new head to ‘God’s Country’

John Hamilton is looking forward to giving back to local communities and boosting tourism.

After six years as chief operating office of Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS), Terri Hadwin has moved on to pursue new opportunities, and John Hamilton has been appointed the new COO. He has been living and working on Vancouver Island, but says that following his appointment last month, he is in the process of moving to “God’s country”.

Hamilton has a long background in travel, sales, and marketing, beginning with Trafalgar Tours in his native England. He was transferred to New York and then Toronto, and fell in love with Canada, where he has worked for companies including BCAA and WestJet.

“I’ve worked with for-profit organizations until now,” he says, “and really had a strong desire to work on the not-for-profit side and give back. I’ve worked for tourism businesses in small towns, and have lots of experience in and around small communities in B.C. I want to help with local tourism.”

He notes that adventure and the outdoors are the fastest-growing tourism sectors, and that both are a big part of the attraction of Gold Country. “We have to make sure that people outside the area know of these opportunities,” he says, adding that GCCS already has world-class Geocaching opportunities. “People get in touch with us from all over the world, asking how to do [what we’ve done]. And the Geocaching books [now available for free from the GCCS office in Cache Creek] have so much history in them.”

He admits that GCCS is currently “a little weak” on the digital side. “I want to catch up with technology. Millennials do their business and get their information via technology. We need to make sure that our information can be found.” He would also like to continue exploring the Bead Trail initiative and make more of it, but notes that they have had some resistance from local businesses in implementing the project.

Hamilton adds that the priority of GCCS right now is recovery from last year’s wildfires. “Business was down 32 per cent over the region in 2017. Our priority is to get visitors back. We need to show we’re open for business, so over the summer we’ll be working on a couple of promotions.

“We’re encouraging residents to be a tourist in their own region, and then tell their family and friends about Gold Country. When people come to visit residents, the question is ‘What do we do with them?’ If you’ve experienced the region’s attractions you can recommend them to others. This is a great place to live and a great place to visit, so we need to get residents behind tourism. The more we can get the community to be ambassadors for the area, the better it is for our region.”

Hamilton says he’s been overwhelmed by the reception from people welcoming him to the area, and is looking forward to marketing and promoting the region to those who are unfortunate enough to live elsewhere. “It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the world.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cache Creek residents urged to prepare for flooding

‘Be prepared as you have never been prepared before’ urges mayor.

New funding being sought for Clinton Museum after Village turns down Grant in Aid request

The Village seeks a three-year plan to help the Museum find alternative funding sources.

Changes coming to TNRD recycling program

Recycling, the water treatment plant, and more were discussed at an Ashcroft community forum.

Ashcroft and Cache Creek receive grants for EOC funding

The grants are to help communities prepare for an emergency or disaster.

Singer Lisa Brokop brings Legendary Ladies of Country to Ashcroft

The concert pays tribute to Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrell, Emmylou Harris, and more.

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Unions set for national strike against CP Rail

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Cops corral pig on the loose

Police “put the grab” on pig before it can cross the highway on Vancouver Island

Accused in B.C. school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

Decision will put hold on upcoming trial for Gabriel Klein

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Updated: Cars lined up around the block as gas hits 109.9 in B.C. city

The gas wars continue in Vernon, B.C. with prices as low as $109.9 in North Okanagan

Most Read