Vancouver – As tourism businesses re-open their doors and encourage BC residents to travel again, the health and safety of all British Columbians remains paramount. To support this, Visitor Centres throughout the province will benefit from $130,000 (up to $1,000 per Visitor Centre), provided through Destination BC, to ensure physical distancing and heightened sanitation measures within their facilities, as they help British Columbians to #ExploreBCLocal now, and explore their own province, when it is safe to do so.
There are 130 community-owned Visitor Centres throughout British Columbia that make up the Visitor Services Network Program. Last year, community Visitor Centres served over 2.9 million visitors at their physical locations and around their communities.
Visitor Centre staff are important front line advocates for tourism and provide practical advice to locals – to show them how to be a tourist in their hometown, to reignite interest in their museums, galleries, and cultural sites, to direct residents to open parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces, and to support the small tourism businesses that are the foundation of our industry – all while adhering to the provincial health directives that are in place to protect us all.
“As we head toward summer, we want Visitor Centres in communities all around BC to feel ready and willing to showcase their local areas, when the time is right,” said Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination BC. “This one-time grant to support health and safety measures ensures visitors, staff, and volunteers can feel comfortable interacting with others. Visitor Centres provide British Columbians with travel information as they explore locally. We want to help ensure our communities continue to reap the economic benefits of tourism, and this funding supports the well-being of all British Columbians as they continue to explore local.”
Destination BC will continue to support BC’s tourism industry by providing access to resources and tools, training programs, program modifications, and insights for small- and medium-sized enterprises, throughout the transition.
Tourism by the Numbers
- British Columbia’s tourism industry generated revenue of $20.5 billion in 2018*, an increase of 4.9% over 2017, and a 53.3% increase from 2008.
- In 2018, British Columbia’s tourism industry employed 161,500 people, a 4.3% increase from 2017. This means that tourism provided a job for roughly 1 out of every 16 people employed in the province.
- There were 19,329 tourism-related businesses in BC, in 2018, employing over 161,500 people and paying $6 billion in wages and salaries.
- The tourism industry generated $6.9 billion in export revenue in 2018, growing 8.2% from 2017.
- GDP for the provincial economy as a whole grew 2.7% over 2017. The tourism industry contributed $8.3 billion of value added or GDP (in 2012 constant dollars) to the BC economy. This represented 3.0% growth over 2017 and 42.1% growth since 2008.
- In 2019, the majority of BC’s visitation was domestic: 74% of all visitors to BC were Canadians. These domestic visitors contributed 49% of tourism revenues in our province. Most tourism businesses buy goods locally, hire locally, and retain their profits locally.
- British Columbians can support BC’s visitor economy by spending some of the $6.7 billion they annually spend abroad by exploring their own province.
- The Visitor Services Network was created in 1986 with a mandate to ensure that exemplary visitor services are delivered, using a multi-channel approach, based on our visitors’ information needs when and where they are needed.
- In 2019 approximately 50% of visitation to Visitor Centres were from British Columbians.
More provincial statistics on tourism industry performance can be found here.
*Latest information available from BC Stats