Earlier this month, I travelled to BC’s North Coast to meet with tourism operators and stakeholders in the region. It’s important to me that I meet the people behind BC’s tourism industry, and hosting roundtables in Prince Rupert and Terrace allowed me to hear from them directly about what’s working well and where there are opportunities for us to further grow the sector.
This was my first time in northern BC, giving me the opportunity to experience the area the same way that first-time visitors to BC do. Driving along the Nisga’a Highway from Terrace to the Nass Valley, I was blown away by the views of mountain peaks, rivers and pristine lakes. Even as a lifelong resident of this province, the natural beauty here never ceases to amaze me and it’s not hard to see why BC remains a world-class travel destination.
While in Prince Rupert, Terrace and the Nass Valley, I heard from Indigenous tourism operators and saw local carvers and artists hard at work in the communities they call home. Indigenous tourism is a growing and thriving part of BC’s tourism sector, and one that holds huge opportunity for growth. It was incredible how much I learned about First Nations history and culture while touring Kitselas Canyon Historical Site and the Nisga’a Museum. An essential stop for visitors, the Nisga’a Museum houses cultural treasures from the 19th and early 20th centuries, offering a permanent place of honour for these priceless artifacts and illuminating the power and spirit encountered here.
My visit to Northern BC finished with a tour of the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park – the first provincial park in British Columbia to combine Indigenous culture with the interpretation of natural features. Park goers can learn about Nisga’a language, culture and history in the visitor centre before embarking on a guided tour through old growth forest and past dramatic volcanic landscapes. It is an experience unique to this part of BC, and one that offers visitors the authentic cultural experiences they are searching for when coming to our province.
As Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, I’m proud to champion tourism in communities large and small across BC. Earlier this year I released the Strategic Framework for Tourism in BC that puts people and communities first. Supporting and promoting all four corners of the province during all seasons is fundamental to our plan. I look forward to continuing to work, alongside Destination BC and all of the operators across the province, to showcase all that Super, Natural British Columbia® has to offer.
Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture toured the North Coast from Sept. 8-9, 2019. She has previously toured Williams Lake, Nelson, Kelowna and Tofino to meet with members of BC’s tourism industry.
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