Kitimat to the Visitor
Efforts to attract visitors to Kitimat had an early start. Al Beaton's "Visitor's Guide to Kitimat" was sold at the Hudson's Bay Trading Company in Smeltersite, and construction workers could purchase a postcard to send away to family and friends. Over the years, visitors were invited to come to see "The Aluminum City" and "The Garden City". The Corporation of the District of Kitimat published annual guides and directories, and the Northern Sentinel published guides and also a visitor's page in its spring edition. In Kitimat's more recent history, the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce established the Visitor Information Centre and began mailing packages to potential visitors.
Cruise ships loaded with passengers were regular visitors to Kitimat during the summer months, docking at the public wharf. Local groups such as the Mount Elizabeth Secondary School band provided entertainment during the half-hour before departure. While in Kitimat for several hours, passengers were treated to a bus tour of the town, smelter, and general area. Smelter tours began in 1961 with a total of 1,177 visitors through the plant.
Nature is just out the door! Over the years, citizens and visitors have enjoyed immediate access to the Kitimat Valley, Kitimat River estuary, and Douglas Channel. Sports fishing and ecotourism have remained among the existing commercial outdoor opportunities. For future investment, inventory is being created of the area’s natural resources and outdoor activities.
There is always potential to increase visitor numbers with continued promotion of Kitimat's industrial and outdoor nature. A future market could also lie in promoting Kitimat as a 1950s town.