Destination BC has announced that it is renewing another three years of base funding for community-based Visitor Centres throughout the province that play a “pivotal role” in tourism.
According to Destination BC, these Visitor Centres are important as they provide accurate and timely travel information to anyone looking to explore communities, locate accommodation, visit local attractions, and participate in tourism activities.
Destination BC says it will also be increasing the minimum level of base funding to $15,000 — up from the centres currently receiving $10,000 to $12,500 per year.
“It is crucial for the health of BC’s tourism industry to ensure we are welcoming visitors back to all corners of our province and supporting them on their adventures,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Providing excellent visitor services is one of the many ways we do this, and I am delighted with Destination BC’s ongoing support of the Visitor Services Network. This funding commitment gives communities the resources they need to develop and deliver world-class visitor services in person and digitally, too.”
In total, there are 129 community-based Visitor Centres that are members of Destination BC’s network and it is estimated by the organization that collectively, these centres serve over 2.9 million visitors annually at their physical locations, over the phone, and via email and other digital channels.
While tourism took a hit in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic, the professional visitor services teams in communities across BC still served almost one million visitors in person and via digital channels. In 2021, Destination BC says that Visitor Centres are on track to exceed 2020 visitation numbers.
The renewal in funding for the next three years is intended by Destination BC to “support long-term business planning, increase stability, encourage innovation, and provide for the increasing hard costs of providing visitor services in communities across BC.”
Over the span of 2021/22, Destination BC says that a total of $2.105 million has been allocated to the Visitor Centre Program.