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Posted: July 19, 2022

Report looks at cannabis tourism for the Kootenays

Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association (KRTA) and Selkirk Innovates have produced a report named Exploring Opportunities for Cannabis Tourism in the Kootenay Rockies, which points out some exciting opportunities.

The report was produced through funding from KRTA and Mitacs. It is one component of a larger project examining opportunities, challenges and risks with cannabis tourism in the Kootenay Rockies region.

Key takeaways from the report are the value of an appellation for Kootenay Rockies grown cannabis products that protects the Kootenay brand and history, opportunities for new and existing partnerships between the cannabis and tourism industry and the importance of respecting and engaging with host communities.

One of the KRTA’s roles as the regional destination management organization is to explore economic growth opportunities for the region’s tourism industry.

Destination development examines the supply side of the tourism industry to ensure both the host community and visitors have a positive experience in the destination. The emphasis is on responsible and sustainable travel within the region.

As part of destination development, KRTA examines opportunities for creating new and unique opportunities for non-traditional avenues for the tourism sector to consider.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the region to be at the forefront of an emerging sector of the tourism industry. B.C. has been progressive in the thinking around cannabis legalization and this report will provide the sector and tourism industry with valuable insights to aid in making informed decisions on business opportunities,” said KRTA CEO, Kathy Cooper.

“Further, this report confirms the importance of respecting host communities’ wishes for welcoming cannabis tourism into their communities if they choose to do so. Understandably, this isn’t a one size fits all but if we are to expand the visitor economy, create unique visitor experiences and drive revenues, niche sectors like this can bring diversity of creative business models and opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

Selkirk Innovates is the applied research and innovation division of Selkirk College. It is here to support and enable communities across the Kootenay Boundary region to adapt and thrive in the face of change.

Selkirk Innovates researchers Dr. Tracey Harvey and Dr. Sarah Breen work on projects that identify and influence economic development and rural resilience. Together with KRTA, they co-supervised recent graduate Alicia Rattu, who researched and wrote the report.

Dr. Harvey, whose own PhD research explored cannabis legalization and its socio-economic impact to the region, echoes KRTA’s perspective regarding cannabis tourism.

“As the Kootenay region has long been recognized for producing top quality cannabis and hosting generations of production and processing knowledge, the development of tourism around this locally important sector will not only help to preserve the region’s global reputation and experience, but also diversify and strengthen our rural economies. This report does a great job at summarizing what the region should be mindful of when developing cannabis tourism, and what and how the region can immediately capitalize on cannabis tourism.”

View the full report.

e-KNOW file photos

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