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Posted: February 6, 2020

Forestry woes produce government funds for tourism

In an attempt to assuage some of the pain felt by rural communities affected by mill closures throughout the province, the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Feb. 5 announced is providing $1 million in funding to develop tourism opportunities and create new jobs.

This funding from the province will be provided through Destination BC to the five regional destination marketing organizations (RDMOs), including Kootenay Rockies Tourism based out of Kimberley.

Each RDMO will receive $200,000 in catalyst funding to support strategic planning and destination development in rural communities impacted by mill closures.

“British Columbia is an amazing place with unparalleled natural beauty that we are proud to invite the world to come explore,” said Premier John Horgan. “This tourism investment will help bring new visitors to rural communities throughout the province, while also helping diversify and boost local economies.”

“As the tourism market continues to expand globally, there are many communities in B.C. that hold great potential for tourism growth,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This funding will help rural communities impacted by mill closures develop new tourism opportunities, create good-paying jobs and give residents access to all the things that make an area attractive to visitors.”

RDMOs will work in collaboration with the affected communities and government to prioritize the needs of the people who live there and determine what tourism investments will have the greatest impact.

“The world’s travellers have thousands of places to choose from, but when they choose B.C., they bring economic, social and cultural benefits to our province. This funding is intended to help communities access economic development funding that supports investments in tourism experiences. Those investments will help us collectively grow a thriving and diversified visitor economy in many parts of our province,” said Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination BC.

Over 70% of Destination BC’s program support is directed towards tourism marketing and destination management programs in small and rural communities throughout B.C.

B.C. welcomed 6.1 million international visitors in 2018.

Tourism employs over 137,000 people and generated $18.4 billion in revenue for B.C. in 2017.

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