Thirty-one new infrastructure tourism projects will help enhance visitor experiences and create vibrant communities throughout the province.
“British Columbia is a world-class destination and tourism is one of the province’s greatest economic drivers,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “The past three years have been incredibly challenging for people in the tourism industry, especially after years of economic uncertainty and extreme weather events like the recent wildfires. Investing in tourism infrastructure supports the tourism sector, the people who work in it, and is helping to create vibrant communities for all British Columbians and visitors.”
The Destination Development Fund supports tourism businesses by developing and rejuvenating tourism infrastructure. The 31 new recipients will receive nearly $15 million in 2023-24 with one-time grants.
Since 2021, more than $60 million has been provided through the Destination Development Fund helping rebuild tourism revenues to 2019 levels and strengthening a year-round visitor economy for people in B.C and for those who work in the tourism sector.
Projects were chosen for their contribution to communities, benefits to the tourism economy, and support for sustainability and accessibility. Project examples include new and expanded tourism attractions like the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club’s interpretive signage and groomer equipment; the expansion of the E.J. Hughes and Quw’utsun Galleries and new Kinsol Trestle Interpretation Centre at the Shawnigan Lake Museum; and the Sointula Resource Centre Society’s revitalized free bike program to include e-bike rentals.
The Province is also supporting the sector with $3 million through the B.C. Tourism Climate Resiliency Initiative. This will support education, assessments, expert coaching, action planning and adaptation to help tourism businesses and communities measure, track and improve sustainable and environmentally responsible practices in their operations.
Led by Destination BC, the initiative will develop climate preparedness and adaptation strategies and action plans to mitigate climate risks, as well as provide a foundation for a long-term sustainability and climate-adaptation approach for people in the B.C. tourism sector.
"The new B.C. Tourism Climate Resiliency Initiative provides a tremendous opportunity to bolster our tourism sector's resilience, preserving natural spaces and making it well-equipped to face and adapt to climate change,” said Richard Porges, president and CEO, Destination BC. “Collectively, the tourism industry has a strong commitment to sustainability and aiding communities and visitors in their readiness for climate-related impacts. This new initiative will pave the way for climate preparedness and adaptation, positioning the tourism industry to proactively mitigate evolving climate risks.”
The B.C. Tourism Climate Resiliency Initiative also supports the preservation of B.C.’s natural spaces, responsible travel and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Erik Blaney, executive council, Tla’amin Nation –
“The Desolation Sound Archaeology Project will survey cultural sites in Desolation Sound Park to identify previously undocumented archeological sites and legally record them. This marks a major shift away from ongoing heritage destruction that has been unchecked for a century. This study will redefine and shift perceptions of ancient cultural landscapes and provide a foundation for sustainable tourism that will protect the surviving Tla’amin cultural heritage in the park, while also educating the public on how to be a good guest in Tla’amin territory.”
Lori Treloar, executive director, Shawnigan Lake Historical Society –
“The Shawnigan Lake Museum has been around for almost 50 years, and since then, both the stories and collections have grown. This grant offers us the opportunity to truly showcase local and beloved artist E.J. Hughes, the Kinsol Trestle and other important histories in new exhibits and increase museum amenities so that we can share our amazing history with more visitors, bringing increased economic benefits to Shawnigan Village.”
- The Province has invested $60 million in the Destination Development Fund since 2021.
- In the first year of the Destination Development Fund, the Province supported 90 projects throughout the province.
- The B.C. Tourism Climate Resiliency Initiative supports the Province’s CleanBC Plan and the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy.
- The B.C. Tourism Climate Resiliency Initiative also builds on the BC Tourism Sustainability Network, a free tourism sustainability program, led by the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat, which has helped more than 160 tourism businesses incorporate sustainability into their operations.
For more information on Destination Development approved projects, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/DestinationGrants.pdf