Visitors and people in resort municipalities will be able to enjoy more trail development, cultural events and infrastructure development, thanks to the Province’s increase of now stable funding to the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI).
“B.C.’s tourism industry creates opportunities for people to see shows and pursue recreation right in their own backyards, as well as providing good-paying jobs and economic development,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “We listened to industry feedback and have made changes that will better support communities in developing larger and more impactful tourism plans.”
The Resort Municipality Initiative funds projects that help B.C.’s 14 resort municipalities develop tourism infrastructure and amenities to attract visitors year-round. In the past, the RMI was not part of the ministry’s core budget, making it difficult for resort municipalities to plan long-term projects. Now part of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s core budget, funding will be increased to $13 million in 2019-20 from an average of $10.5 million annually in previous years.
Some of these initiatives to date include:
- shuttle bus service from Red Mountain to Rossland;
- recreational trails in Fernie;
- outdoor National Hockey League skating rink in Sun Peaks; and
- Whistler’s film festival.
“Thanks to the hard work of many in our community and support from the RMI funding, we have developed several projects that benefit residents and visitors to our community,” said Josie Osborne, mayor of Tofino. “The Tonquin Trail, developed in partnership with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, is one example that is a way for us to showcase our spectacular views of the Pacific, and the cultural history of the area, as a popular route for storm watching, and with its groomed gravel trail, is suitable for a wide variety of hikers.”
Other changes to the program include a new funding formula that puts all RMI communities on equal footing and provides a minimum funding amount of $100,000 per year. Additionally, a new annual performance-based component recognizes increases in tourism activity in each community with increased funding.
These changes resulted from consultation with the tourism sector and feedback on how important RMI is in maintaining B.C.’s reputation as a tourism destination in all seasons and supporting tourism growth in resort communities around the province. The Province’s new strategic tourism framework was developed to build a strong, sustainable and innovative tourism economy. RMI recipient communities are encouraged to incorporate accessibility and sustainable tourism experiences and support local Indigenous tourism development, in alignment with the strategic framework.
- The 14 resort municipalities that receive RMI funding are: Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.
- Since 2006, $129.6 million has been invested in tourism infrastructure, events and programs to support eligible resort municipalities’ tourism economies.
- More than 137,000 people work in the tourism industry in B.C.
- RMI's three objectives are:
- to enhance tourism infrastructure and amenities;
- to deliver remarkable visitor experiences; and
- to implement projects and initiatives that improve tourism sustainability.
To learn more about the Resort Municipality Initiative, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/tourism-immigration/tourism-resources/tourism-funding-programs/resort-municipality-funding-rmi