Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts today announced $75,000 for the second phase of a major research project being undertaken by the province's Council of Tourism Associations.
Phase two of the Foresight Project builds on the initial project phase undertaken between January and June of 2006 aimed at identifying key tourism industry drivers and examining a range of potential scenarios that impact tourism development.
"This next phase of the project will further build on our efforts to engage the tourism sector in helping to develop a solid base of research and indicators to guide the development of a comprehensive strategy to double tourism in the province by 2015," said Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts Olga Ilich.
"Tourism operators are the heart of our industry and their active engagement in developing best practices, bench marking tools, and an operating plan to put the planning and analysis into practice, will help ensure that both government and industry are working together to ensure the long-term sustainability of what is now a $10-billion per year industry in our province."
The Council of Tourism Associations (COTA) initiated the Foresight Project in January 2006 with funding from the provincial Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts ($50,000), federal Western Economic Diversification ($50,000) and contributions from its own members ($12,700).
The phase one report will be released later this summer and it provides a foundation for undertaking a series of regional workshops and task force meetings to help finalize a tourism sustainability policy, a code of ethics for the industry, universal best management practices, new measurement and benchmarking tools, and an operational plan for the implementation of the new policies and tools. Funding for this phase will come from the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts ($75,000), with an equivalent amount to be sought by COTA from Western Economic Diversification.
Michael Campbell, COTA's president and chair of the board of directors, indicates the project represents an important step in developing a stronger and healthier industry.
"As one of the largest resource industries in B.C. and one of the most labour intensive, developing sustainable tourism practices will not only contribute to B.C.'s economy, but also to communities' well being," Campbell said. "The project recognizes that sustainable tourism practices, in addition to its economic benefits, can offer B.C. regions an enhanced sense of identity and pride, as well as develop social capital."
"We have set an ambitious goal to double tourism in the province over the next 10 years," said Ilich. "Achieving this goal requires that we develop new research, management and planning tools and formulate a vision that is consistent with industry's realities and changing needs. The Foresight Project is geared to filling some of the gaps that currently exist and to helping us move forward confidently."