Regional tourism projects get funding boost
Destination BC is providing $4 million this year to support 57 tourism projects across British Columbia, including three in the East Kootenay and one in Creston, through its Co-operative Marketing Partnerships Program, to increase collaboration and alignment of marketing activities across the province.
Destination BC’s budget for the 2019/20 program is $4 million, with nearly $5 million in matching dollars that the industry brings to the program for community and sector co-op marketing initiatives. The program enables communities and sector organizations, who share common interests and marketing goals, to align with provincial tourism priorities, maximize funding and marketing impact, and raise B.C. tourism revenues.
Funding will be dispersed to communities and sector groups across all regions of the province, and includes support for marketing tourism destinations and key activities such as golf, mountain biking, wine touring, backcountry lodges, camping and RV, and fishing and ocean boating.
Marketing programs will focus on attracting visitors from local markets such as Alberta and Washington State, as well as within the province, and include advertising, the development of video and photography assets, social media programs, market research, and consumer show attendance.
For example, the BC Ale Trail is a marketing campaign that brings together 29 communities to showcase British Columbia as a global destination for craft beer enthusiasts and beer tourists. In 2018/19, co-op funding supported the BC Ale Trail in marketing about 200 craft breweries across B.C. including two new ale trails, and four updated ale trails.
Through this funding they were able to create two new videos and add more than 600 new photos to their database to support destination marketing organizations and their breweries with marketing efforts.
Another example is Fishing BC, a unique marketing partnership between the BC Fishing Resort Outfitters (BCFROA), the Sports Fishing Institute (SFI) and the Freshwater Fisheries Society (FFS) formed with the common desire to showcase the variety of saltwater and freshwater fishing options, and to encourage more anglers to fish in B.C.
Through the Co-operative Marketing Partnerships Program, 2019/20 funding will support video creation, print publications, television advertising, email marketing and social media. Messaging will align to promote fishing destinations that are currently under-utilized to disperse angling efforts and visitation to B.C.
Fishing BC stakeholders are found in every corner of the province and the visitation driven by the joint marketing investments are an important economic driver to rural, coastal, and First Nations communities across BC.
East Kootenay projects funded in the Kootenay Rockies:
Zoomer & Beyond (Tourism Fernie, Cranbrook Tourism, Tourism Kimberley, Invermere Panorama Tourism, Tourism Radium, St. Eugene Resort, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, Ktunaxa Nation, Fernie Museum/History Society, Fernie & District Arts Council, Fernie Heritage Library, Fernie Chamber of Commerce, Sparwood Chamber of Commerce, Elkford Arts Council.) – $20,480.
Travel Columbia Valley (Invermere/Panorama DMO, Tourism Radium Hot Springs, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, Copper Point Resort) – $46,200.
Rockies Exploring (Cranbrook Tourism Society, Canadian Rockies International Airport, St. Eugene Resort) – $18,990.
Creston Valley (Town of Creston, Regional District of Central Kootenay Areas A, B & C) – $20,200.
Additionally, province-wide, Sport Fishing Institute, BC Fishing Resorts and Outfitters Association, Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia is getting $250,000, the and the BC Golf Marketing Alliance is getting $250,000, the Mountain Bike Tourism Association $177,500.
The Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia is getting $65,000, the BC Snowmobile Federation is receiving $40,000, the Backcountry Lodges of BC Association $25,000 and BC Association of Farmers’ Markets is getting $50,000, while the Camping and RVing BC Coalition shall get $80,000.
In 2017, the tourism industry employed over 137,800 people with $4.9 billion in wages. Over a 10-year period, tourism contributed $9 billion to the B.C. economy –more than any other primary resource industry, such as mining, and oil and gas.
“Tourism destinations are in an increasingly ferocious global competition for travellers. BC is elevating its marketing impact through collaboration. This funding harnesses the collective power of tourism champions in towns, cities, and regions, connecting local networks and sectors with a common purpose. Together, we are positioning British Columbia as a must-see destination, and our industry is a leading source of growth in BC’s economy,” stated Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination BC.
“British Columbia has so many unique and beautiful areas for visitors to experience. We want to make sure visitors know all that they can see and do in our province, along with supporting tourism businesses who showcase all that British Columbia holds. With the Co-operative Marketing Partnerships Program we are investing in tourism’s continued growth to make sure tourism operators and businesses throughout the province will benefit from tourism in all seasons,” added Lisa Beare, Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture.
Lead image: Aerial view of Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park. e-KNOW file photo