Living here in British Columbia we know how much our province has to offer, but how can we make sure that people in other countries are aware too? Pat Bell, the minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, was tasked with just that when he recently embarked on creating a tourism strategy that provided the best marketing support for B.C.’s tourism industry as possible. And after working with groups throughout the industry we have done just that.
Tourism is one of B.C.’s leading economic sectors, employing 127,000 people and generating $13.4 billion in revenue — $1.2 billion of which goes into government revenues and helps support healthcare and social programs throughout the province. To help bolster our tourism this strategy will include the following four key themes that will help tourism create jobs, opportunities, and prosperity for British Columbians in every region of the province:
• leadership through partnership and co-ordination;
• focused marketing;
• world-class visitor experiences;
• removing barriers to growth.
So what will we be promoting? When people think about B.C. they already picture our lush forests, beautiful lakes and rivers, and breathtaking natural landscapes, but we also have many high-value products and experiences. Things like skiing and snowboarding, aboriginal tourism, touring vacations, and outdoor adventure/eco-tourism will help motivate people to choose B.C. as their vacation destination. These experiences are on top of our already popular Cariboo tourism staples like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sled tours, and ice fishing.
Tourism is and will continue to be a key sector in the success of our economy and there is substantial growth potential for the industry in the years to come. From the urban-centred tourism of Vancouver and Victoria to the beautiful and majestic landscapes and outdoor experiences of northern and rural British Columbia —we have so much to share with the world. I’m looking forward to opening our doors and sharing all that we have to offer as a province, and as British Columbians.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.