$3 million tourism flight plan launched Tourism B.C. got its thinkers together with the Whistler Resort Association (and others) to develop a $3 million consumer marketing program designed to make the open skies more open this week. The idea is to encourage an increase in the number of spring-time visits out of major U.S. markets through the open skies agreement. The open skies agreement between Canada and the U.S., signed in 1995, has resulted in a healthy boost of tourism dollars into this province. The WRA especially has been a big booster of open skies as a way to get snow sport visitors here as quickly as possible. "It is vital that we continue to target our marketing efforts in key U.S. open skies cities if we want to encourage growth and create a healthy future for our tourism industry," says new Tourism Minister Ian Waddell. This time around, the 13-week campaign is a series of 60-second TV commercials, a direct mail effort, a 24-page "Getaway Guide" inserted in 1.6 million newspapers, and other media and travel trade activity. San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are targets of three and five day air and accommodation packages to Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler. Open skies refers to air trips direct from U.S. cities to Vancouver. Tourism B.C. is also launching Dollars Due North, a 17-city tour for tour operators and agents Stateside to educate them about B.C. vacations.