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Increase of visitors in Houston

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In 2016, the RDBN partnered with the Districts of Houston, the Villages of Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Granisle and Telkwa, Vanderhoof and Fort St. James, Tourism Smithers, and Northern B.C. Tourism to complete a 'value of tourism' report.

The report found that approximately 250,400 people visit the Bulkley-Nechako region annually, spending an average of $58.6 million.

"With 250,400 visitors spending $58 million annually in the Bulkley-Nechako, tourism is a major contributor to the regional economy," said Bill Miller, RDBN Chair.

However, when presented with the study, the RDBN board pointed out that the study does not offer a comparison between past and present numbers. Therefore it is unclear if tourism numbers have increased or decreased over the past few years.

Miller said the study can now be used as a "baseline" for future studies, which will allow the RDBN to assess if tourism has increased or decreased in the region.

But apart from the economic benefits, tourism also has the potential to enhance community pride and the quality of life.

"Communities that embrace tourism can often justify enhancements to infrastructure, events and activities well beyond what could be achieved without a stable source of external revenue flowing into the community," said Justin Rousseau, managing director o Expedition Management Consulting, the company hired to conduct the study.

Expedition Management Consulting gathered commercial accommodation data over a one-year period and combined it with regional, provincial, and national tourism indicators to provide an estimate of the total number of visitors and their expenditures in each community and surrounding electoral area.

According to the RDBN, having estimates of tourism's contribution to a community is central to developing an informed planning approach.

Tourism industry is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the provincial economy. In 2015, the tourism industry in British Columbia generated $15.7 billion in revenue, employed 127,700 people and generated $1.1 billion in provincial taxes.

A copy of the full report can be accessed at http://opportunities.rdbn.bc.ca/tourism.

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