Following the BC Day long weekend, Destination BC is celebrating a major milestone in its marketing efforts: 5 million uses of the #exploreBC hashtag on Instagram.
Since its inception in 2013, the use of the #exploreBC hashtag has inspired travellers from around the world to explore British Columbia, playing a vital role in driving word-of-mouth marketing for BC’s thriving tourism industry.
The exponential growth of #exploreBC usage – from one million in 2015 to five million in 2019 – is an important indicator of advocacy for British Columbia as a travel destination, from visitors, businesses and residents alike. Social media users tag their photos and videos, taken from around the province, with the hashtag which then exposes those images to everyone searching within that tag for inspiration. Five million uses of the hashtag creates approximately 750 million impressions and a community of advocates for our province.
In July 2019 alone, content tagged with #exploreBC generated more than 6 million engagements, reaching a potential audience of 19 million people. Destination BC and other destination marketing organisations across the province also draw from this incredible pool of user-generated content to showcase the diverse experiences available in our destination.
Tourism businesses have felt the positive impact of #exploreBC, too – in a well-known example from last year, a staff member at Great Bear Lodge posted a video of a humpback whale breaching just off the lodge’s dock. Destination BC was able to find and amplify the video via the #exploreBC hashtag, contributing to authentic moment going viral. It’s now been viewed more than 48 million times on Destination BC’s channels alone, and the business saw a 1350% increase over the week before the video was posted, translating into many bookings for 2019 and 2020.
As the first destination in Canada to reach this milestone, and a leader in this regard globally, it’s also a positive indicator of visitor and resident advocacy for British Columbia on social media versus other destinations – the powerful peer-to-peer recommendations that drive awareness and visitation for destinations and businesses across our province.
To celebrate the five million milestone, Destination BC released a video, 5 Million Memories, that showcases top performing #exploreBC content, to recognize the lasting memories that have been created in every corner of the province, by visitors, residents and businesses alike.
Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture
“From wildlife viewing, to rugged adventures and culinary pursuits, people are creating and sharing lasting memories in BC”, said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “The #exploreBC hashtag shines a light on the beautiful and diverse experiences that our province has to offer, and in turn, supports the businesses and communities that help make those experiences truly remarkable. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the #exploreBC community, and to the collective success of our thriving tourism industry.”
Marsha Walden, President & CEO, Destination BC
“Across BC, people are sharing their love for our province through social media”, said Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination BC. “Five million uses of the #exploreBC hashtag is a remarkable demonstration of word-of-mouth marketing in action, and how BC’s tourism industry is winning in the digital marketplace. It is especially poignant to have reached this milestone as we celebrated BC Day. Thank you to our visitors, our residents, and our industry, for helping us grow tourism together.”
Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC
“What a remarkable accomplishment for BC’s tourism industry”, said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of BC. “The success of the #exploreBC hashtag is a true demonstration of strength between our partners, and I’m thrilled to see our community of tourism businesses come together to raise awareness and garner excitement for the transformative work that they do.”
Margaret Leehane, Co-Owner, Great Bear Lodge
“Using the #exploreBC hashtag certainly helped our humpback whale video quickly gain views, and eventually go viral. As a small tourism operator, we are able to leverage the remarkable reach of Destination BC, built through the tireless efforts of their social media team, while still keeping the content authentic and unique to us. Through #exploreBC, Destination BC is able to pass on varied and engaging stories to the travel markets of the world, making the province a more compelling destination.”
Tourism is a powerful, collaborative force. As one of the fastest growing industries globally, it brings incredible benefits not only for visitors, but also social, cultural and economic benefits for BC residents. In 2017, tourism contributed $9 billion to BC’s GDP – more than any other primary resource industry. Tourism improves the quality of life for all British Columbians. Through museums and galleries, festivals and sports events, dining and wine touring, and more, tourism enhances the vitality and livability of BC’s communities.
Tourism also supports jobs and creates opportunities in every corner of the province, with 19,000 tourism business in BC, in both rural and urban communities of every size and make-up. These businesses, many of them small, support BC’s economy and provide a wide range of dynamic jobs and lifelong careers. Tourism strengthens international perceptions of British Columbia, creating positive impacts on trade and investment, international education, and immigration, and improving the quality of life for British Columbians.
Tourism – By the Numbers
More provincial statistics on tourism industry performance can be found at: https://www.destinationbc.ca/research-insights/type/industry-performance/
More information on the power of tourism, case studies, and story ideas can be found at: https://www.destinationbc.ca/who-we-are/the-power-of-tourism-bc/
About Destination BC:
Destination BC is an industry-led, Provincially funded Crown corporation that works collaboratively with tourism stakeholders across the province to coordinate marketing at the international, provincial, regional and local levels, and to support regions, communities and Indigenous people in developing or expanding tourism experiences, businesses and jobs.
For additional information, please contact:
Destination BC Media Relations
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