New tourism initiatives and projects are underway in the Vancouver Island tourism region after receiving support through provincial funding.
The initiatives that are being undertaken within the region include revitalizing downtown cores to entice visitors and encourage them to stay longer, cleaning up shores with marine waste collectors, building a world-class mountain biking destination and creating awareness of territorial recognition for Indigenous communities.
“We know recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses and people in the tourism sector are critically important. This fund creates new tourism infrastructure, which will help the sector recover, create local jobs and spur economic development,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Building on the calls to action from the sector, this fund invests in initiatives that link communities together and encourages visitors to spend time at several destinations within a region.”
In regards to the region, the government says that Tourism Vancouver Island partnered with community destination management organizations, local and regional governments, First Nations, non-profits and other partners to identify initiatives that will enhance the region’s tourism amenities and experiences.
“These projects, such as the revitalization of downtown cores, will have huge benefits for the tourism industry, locals and visitors to Vancouver Island,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “Beyond creating jobs and supporting a strong pandemic recovery, these investments will make it easier to travel around the Island to see all of its beauty.”
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The Province has provided $2.3 million toward all tourism projects across British Columbia. Other initiatives outside of the Vancouver Island region include improvement of trail systems throughout a region for hiking, Nordic skiing or mountain biking, self-guided tour signage to highlight agri-tourism areas and a series of Indigenous landmarks in specific regions.
“This funding will allow us to significantly advance our destination development plan while supporting the long-term recovery of the Vancouver Island region in a responsible, sustainable way,” said Anthony Everett, president and CEO, Tourism Vancouver Island. “These projects will not only aid both urban and rural communities but connect these areas with mutually beneficial legacies that also support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”
The approved projects must be completed by March 2023, according to the government, as part of the Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative.
In total, under the Province’s StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, the six tourism regions in British Columbia have received a total of $13.6 million to create employment opportunities, attract new businesses and increase economic diversification within communities.