WILLIAMS LAKE – A new, three-year base funding model for community visitor services will ensure more stable and predictable funding and allow for greater flexibility and innovation.
Communities receiving annual funding for the next three years:
- Quesnel: $12,500
- Williams Lake: $18,750
- Wells: $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.
“As a former manager of the Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Centre in Quesnel for 14 years, I know first-hand the incredible job that visitor centres provide. They play a significant role in diversifying our economy and supporting our small businesses,” Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said. “Tourism helps keep our local communities strong, diverse and growing. Along with the innovation fund, this new, stable funding will help our visitor centres ensure better long-term planning for the Cariboo region and adapt to changing visitor needs.”
“Our government is committed to providing quality, world-class services for travellers and visitors to B.C.,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “Visitors to the Cariboo-Chilcotin area will continue to receive valuable information about the many unique experiences our communities offer.”
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 four per cent 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.