B.C. tourism getting boost Tourism BC is going to be promoting B.C. vacations this month. The Vacation BC program is being called the most significant Tourism BC promotion in 10 years and the first directed exclusively toward B.C. residents. Tourism Minister Bill Barlee announced the $2 million promotion in July. It includes a general awareness program, co-operative promotional programs with industry and an evaluation framework. It all kicks in this month. Tourism BC research shows that a few minor adjustments to resident travel behaviour, such as encouraging residents to take one more trip a year within B.C., spend $5 more per person per day, and stay a half day longer, could increase revenues by $1 billion per year. The tourism industry has generally supported the program, in large part because the biggest single tourism market B.C. has is the B.C. resident. The Vacation BC initiative is the latest in a series of marketing tactics the Tourism Ministry has taken to promote B.C. Earlier efforts include a Super, Natural computer screen saver, which shows scenic posters of B.C., and using trucks as rolling billboards. The province has also licensed its SuperHost program to American Express. In Vancouver, taxi drivers recently became tourism ambassadors through the four-level, multi-year TaxiHost program. The program will move to other regions of B.C. in the future. Politically, the NDP government brought in a new Tourism Act earlier this year, which enables the Tourism Ministry to participate in land-use decisions. The ministry is also assisting tourism offices in Whistler, Vancouver and Victoria as they target American cities that now have direct commercial airline flights to Vancouver through the Open Skies agreement.