Ashcroft looks to cash in on desert theme as film, tourist draw - InfoNews

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Ashcroft looks to cash in on desert theme as film, tourist draw

Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden says there is an opportunity for the community to promote its desert environment while COVID-19 restrictions impede the ability to travel.
August 15, 2020 - 6:00 AM

The desert landscape of Ashcroft, British Columbia could be an economic driver for the community in these COVID-19 times.

This week, we explained that contrary to popular belief that Osoyoos is Canada's desert, experts says an area near Ashcroft is the only true desert region in the country when measuring by precipitation levels.

READ MORE: Canada's only desert is in B.C. — but not where you think it is

Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden says since the easing of pandemic lockdowns in the province, the local film commission has been seeing a lot of interest from film industry officials looking for desert landscapes, among other things.

Roden says the U.S. border closure is forcing the film industry to look locally for scenes rather than going south to the U.S. right now.

Ashcroft’s economic development committee met a couple of weeks ago, where the prospect of tapping into a desert theme for the community was mentioned.

“I think we’re going to look at it, not necessarily in terms of branding but something we can promote about the community that is unique to Ashcroft,” she says.

She says interior communities have a lot of things in common, but the desert – and its landscape – are unique to Ashcroft.

“We were sort of brainstorming ways we can develop that as a fun and cool thing. People are interested in it,” she says.

The mayor says she’s not interested in starting a ‘desert rivalry’ between the South Okanagan and Ashcroft but says the desert theme could be something that helps put B.C. on the tourist map.

"You can’t visit a desert anywhere else in the world right now, with COVID-19 making international travel difficult. If you came here to see the desert we’ve got and took your photos carefully, you could tell people you went someplace else,” she laughs.

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