BC Tourism Industry

Overview of Tourism in B.C.

The tourism industry in BC is comprised of many different stakeholders including tourism businesses, suppliers, product sectors, communities, associations, destination marketing organizations (Destination Canada, provincial, regional and communities) and federal, provincial, and municipal governments, all playing a role in helping BC and Canada be a stronger competitor in the global marketplace.

The BC tourism system needs to be a model for collaboration that allows everyone in the system to become more specialized and excellent in its work. We need to create a truly integrated, interdependent network that perform with excellence and add incremental value that cannot be achieved alone.

The Provincial Government

Destination British Columbia takes the lead role in tourism development, management and marketing programs in key domestic and international markets, working closely with private sector operators and industry groups and other government ministries to create an integrated approach in B.C. It is Destination British Columbia's role to increase demand for all tourism products and regions of B.C., for the benefit of the entire industry.

On October 25, 2011, Premier Christy Clark introduced a new strategy for the tourism sector called Gaining the Edge as part of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. This five-year plan maps out key areas of focus that will help tourism fulfill its true potential, stimulating sector growth with increasing visitation, revenue and employment. The Gaining the Edge tourism strategy can be found here.

To find out further information about the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training see the Ministry Service Plan.

The Federal Government and Destination Canada

Industry Canada is part of the Federal Government and within this department are a variety of programs including small business and tourism. Under Industry Canada’s portfolio is Destination Canada (DC), a federal Crown Corporation that is Canada’s national marketing organization. Destination Canada works in partnership with the country's tourism industry to implement the Federal Tourism Strategy: Welcoming the World to increase awareness of and interest in Canada as a premiere tourism destination.

Learn more about the Destination Canada

Other Levels of Government

Above and beyond tourism specific areas of government, other federal and provincial government ministries, agencies, as well as municipal and regional governments are responsible for infrastructure development, policy and regulation. They have a significant impact on the way the tourism industry develops and the rate at which it is able to grow. These different organizations undertake those activities that are beyond the scope of individual operators or tourism industry organizations/ associations to deliver. Areas of government responsibility include transportation infrastructure, Agricultural Land Reserve, First Nations treaty negotiations, land tenure, Backcountry Recreation Policy, fees and licenses, and regulations and processes.

Regional Destination Marketing Organizations

There are several Regional Destination Marketing Organizations (RDMOs) within B.C. Each RDMO is registered under the Societies Act and each is governed by a regional Board of Directors. The RDMOs are contracted by Destination British Columbia to deliver a range of tourism programs in their region, which ultimately benefit communities and tourism businesses.

Learn more about RDMOs .

Community Partners

There are many communities in B.C. marketing themselves as tourism destinations. Some are managed as formal organizations and registered societies while others are managed as parts of Chambers of Commerce or volunteer organizations. Many receive a portion of their operational funding from the Provincial Government (the “Province”) in the form of the Municipal and Regional District Tax.‬‪ Some destinations are marketing a single community while others are marketing a group of communities based on geography, driving routes and other factors relevant to the consumer.

Learn more about Community Partners.

Industry Partners

A number of associations, consortiums and product sector organizations represent the interests of B.C.’s tourism industry at the national and provincial levels. These groups address product development, coordination, cooperative marketing and advocacy to assist tourism industry operators with their day-to-day business activities.

Learn more about Industry Partners.

18,000 Tourism Businesses and growing

B.C.'s tourism industry is comprised of over 18,000 tourism-related businesses, that have been classified into six categories including Accommodation, Transportation, Recreation and Entertainment, Travel Services, Food and Beverage, and Retail. Within each of the six categories, there are many different types of tourism-related businesses, services and product offerings all working to deliver tourism experiences to the visitor.