FORT ST. JOHN – A new, three-year base funding model for community visitor services centres in the Peace region will ensure more stable and predictable funding and allow for greater flexibility and innovation.
Communities receiving annual funding for the next three years:
- Fort Nelson: $12,500
- Fort St. John: $12,500
- Hudson’s Hope: $10,000
- Taylor: $10,000
- Chetwynd: $12,500
- Dawson Creek: $20,000
- Tumbler Ridge: $10,000
Destination BC, the Province’s industry-led destination marketing organization, has announced the three-year base funding model for the 108 community visitor centres it helps support, following extensive consultation with the community visitor services centre network.
The strategy includes a new minimum base funding of $10,000 annually for the next three years for small and rural community visitor centres as well as an innovation fund available in 2016 to assist communities with projects that help them adapt to the changing needs and expectations of visitors, including through the use of technology.
This is a positive increase for rural and small communities across B.C. and acknowledges their ongoing contributions to the tourism industry.
“Visitors to Peace Country will continue to receive quality, world-class services from our visitor centres,” Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm said. “The innovation fund will also be available to help these communities adapt to changing visitor needs.”
“Tourism is a key economic driver and job creator in British Columbia,” Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier said. “Our visitor centres will continue to provide valuable community information to travellers and visitors to our region.”
As a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, tourism is an important economic driver in the province. B.C.’s tourism sector is strong and growing, which is good news in light of fierce global competition for tourists. In 2013, the tourism industry generated $13.9 billion in revenue and a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.3 billion, accounting for 4% of the Province’s total GDP.
- In 2014, there were almost a quarter of a million (234,079) more visitors coming from outside the country than in 2013 – a 5.3% increase.
- The Province supports Destination BC, an industry-led Crown corporation. Destination BC works closely with tourism stakeholders, marketing the province as a tourist destination and promoting the development and growth of the tourism industry.
- Since 2003, tourism sector employment in B.C. has grown 17.6% and tourism wages and salaries have increased by more than 34.4% ($4.5 billion in 2013).
- In 2013, the tourism sector employed 132,200 British Columbians – that’s about 1 in every 15 jobs in B.C – and the tourism industry paid $4.5 billion in wages and salaries to tourism workers, an increase of 3.8 % over the year before.
- There are more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and over 17,000 (almost 93%) are small businesses with less than 50 employees.
For more information on the Visitor Services Network, please visit: www.destinationbc.ca/Programs/Visitor-Centre-Network.aspx.