EK towns get six per cent of RMI funds
The Government of British Columbia announced August 24 that it is investing $10.5 million in 14 resort communities for projects that help support local tourism infrastructure and amenities.
Four of the 14 communities are located in the East Kootenay (Fernie, Invermere, Kimberley and Radium Hot Springs) and they will be receiving $647,142, about six per cent of the $10.5 million in funding, with Fernie getting more than half of that total with $383,316.
Invermere will receive a total of $85,988, Kimberley is getting $76,255 and Radium Hot Springs will receive a total of $101,583.
Nearby Golden will receive a total of $554,708, while Rossland will receive $71,443.
The funding comes from the government’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI), which helps to grow the tourism sector in eligible municipalities. The government also announced it is extending the RMI program for another year to the end of 2017.
Municipalities eligible for RMI funding are Fernie, Invermere, Kimberley, Radium Hot Springs, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Osoyoos, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.
Whistler is making out big-time with $6,786,146 coming its way, or 65% of the RMI pie
More than $98.1 million in RMI funding has been invested since 2006 to support the unique challenges and opportunities faced by these smaller resort-oriented municipalities. Communities will use this funding to enhance infrastructure and services crucial to growing the tourism sector that drives their local economies. Projects range from trail and boardwalk improvements to venue development and tourist information services.
The RMI program helps these resort municipalities to increase the number of visitors and their length of stay, broaden resort activities to expand the length of the tourist season, grow employment, and diversify the local tax base.
The B.C. tourism industry created 132,200 jobs and generated $13.9 billion in revenues in 2013. RMI supports the BC Jobs Plan and Gaining the Edge: B.C.’s Tourism Strategy by helping resort-based municipalities address the unique challenges they face as seasonally dependent economies. In addition to RMI funding, the Province invests more than $90 million annually in the tourism sector throughout B.C.
“The Resort Municipality Initiative is designed to help improve and strengthen the economies of resort communities around the province,” stated Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.
“We know that the tourism sector helps drive our diverse economy and is a significant job creator. We want to ensure that when visitors choose to enjoy one of these resort municipalities they have a memorable experience and that it motivates them to continue to make British Columbia their year round destination of choice,” she said.
In 2014, 4.7 million international visitors came to B.C. – a 5.3% increase and nearly a quarter of a million more people than the previous year.
In 2013, tourism provided 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 2013, the tourism sector employed 132,200 British Columbians – that is about one in every 15 jobs in B.C.