May 20, 2021 Prince George, BC - National Tourism Week (May 23-30) traditionally signals the kick-off of tourist season, and the CEO of Northern BC Tourism is encouraging people in the region to celebrate the occasion by staying local and supporting local tourism businesses.
Clint Fraser says the health and safety of British Columbians needs to come first, and the industry is very respectful and supportive of that priority. But he adds, we should take the opportunity to celebrate all that tourism has to offer at the local level. “The tourism sector has never gone through such a challenging period, so I encourage people in the region to keep local tourism attractions, restaurants, campgrounds or arts and culture activities in mind – and enjoy yourself while supporting local businesses.”
As one of five regional tourism associations that function under the umbrella of the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat, Northern BC Tourism continues to place a high priority on assisting businesses adapt and respond to the pandemic. Through the BC Tourism Resiliency Network, the region has supported more than 200 operators who have registered with the program. As a result, those providers have access to experts in health and safety, human resources, finance and strategic planning, and digital marketing services - who provide advice and assistance. On a provincial basis, the total number of contacts between the Resiliency Network and businesses, among the five regions over the past 14 months totals more than 38,000.
As much as support for operators getting through today is a priority, the region is also working to ensure a post-COVID tourism economy that is as strong as possible.
Through the Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative, twelve new destination and tourism infrastructure developments are underway with support from the Province. Initiatives include investing in accessibility adaptations at multiple recreation sites to improve access, implementing a comprehensive place-making signage strategy for the North and supporting multiple small First Nations communities to tell their stories through cultural and wayfinding signage.
Northern BC Tourism is also one of four regional destination management organizations that recently signed a letter of commitment to pursue the Biosphere certification, which aligns with 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations in areas that include climate change, environment, social, economy and culture. Certification will elevate sustainability as a cornerstone of future planning and will communicate to travellers that the region adheres to and is committed to ideals that parallel their own.
Until measures intended to protect us all are relaxed, Fraser encourages all British Columbians to play their part by following the advice of public health officials. He is also encouraging people to support an initiative by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and sign a pledge to travel domestically when it is safe to do so, in support of businesses in this country that will need help in rebuilding the country’s tourism economy.
For information about the BC Tourism Resiliency Network and associated resources, visit: http://tourismresiliency.ca
About Northern BC Tourism Association:
Northern BC Tourism Association (NBCTA) works to develop, support, and sustain the tourism sector in northern BC and is one of five regional destination management organizations in the province. NBCTA is a non-profit association led by a board of directors elected by industry, and works collaboratively with industry partners including; tourism operators, The Ministry of Tourism Arts, Culture, and Sport, Indigenous Tourism BC, Destination BC, local governments, and Indigenous communities, to advance the tourism sector and enhance resident quality of life throughout the northern BC region.
About the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat:
The BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS) is a collaboration between five regional destination management organizations (Caribou Chilcotin Coast Tourism, Kootaney Rockies Tourism Association, Northern British Columbia Tourism Association, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and Tourism Vancouver Island) representing more than 8,000 tourism businesses and organizations. The BCRTS is leading a ground-up approach so local voices and knowledge shape programs and compliment local and regional tourism strategies. This focus is also reflected in destination development to help tourism operators offer the most desirable and sustainable tourism experience for visitors.
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