Destination BC is providing $4.2 million to support 84 tourism projects across British Columbia this year through its Co-operative Marketing Partnerships Program, to continue to foster a collaborative “Team BC” approach to tourism marketing and further support the sector as it recovers.
The program helps partners drive consumer demand and increase tourism revenues by investing resources where and when capacity exists, leveraging private and public funds to maximize marketing impact, and creating deep collaboration to enhance our collective global competitiveness as an industry, which has become increasingly crucial as global travel restarts. Initially designed to require new annual applications and matched industry funding, the program has been modified over the last three intakes to remove these requirements, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on BC’s tourism industry.
For the last seven years the program has supported communities in every corner of the province, funding new and established marketing initiatives for both tourism destinations, and key activities such as golf, ski, mountain biking, wine touring, backcountry lodges, camping and RVing, and fishing.
Sector-based project examples include:
- Wine Growers British Columbia: With wine and food tourism on the rise globally, BC has never been in a better position to grow this tourism sector market. BC boasts nine distinct wine regions, each with a unique set of award-winning wines, amazing cuisine, and destinations rich in scenery and flavour, that strongly position BC to become a leading global destination for wine and food tourists. Wine Growers British Columbia continues to find innovative ways to support and grow BC’s innately intertwined wine, tourism, and hospitality sectors, launching a number of collaborative campaigns to support these efforts, including their co-op funded, Magellan Award-winning Wines of BC Explorer App, with 15k users and growing.
- BC Bird Trail: Now in its third year, the BC Bird Trail has soared to success by raising awareness of the diversity and quality of BC’s birding experiences. Working in deep collaboration with local partners, the Trail provides avian enthusiasts with bird-centric travel itineraries that encompass key touchpoints of travel planning including dining, accommodation, tours, and birding-related equipment, designed to lead conversion and generate revenue. Serving as a one-stop shop for bird travellers, their website features information on the birds of BC, bird trip itineraries, bookable experiences, stories of birding and conservation, and more.
- BC Golf Marketing Alliance: Golf partners around the province have come together to sell BC as the ultimate golf destination of choice, featuring golf vacation itineraries, tourism partner referrals, and fully bookable, custom experiences directly through their website, leading to strong sales for businesses and a seamless booking experience for visitors. Leveraging creative partnerships with other tourism partners such as accommodation providers and food & drink establishments to create comprehensive golf travel packages, the Alliance is a true testament to success through collaboration.
In addition to sector-based funding, the program also supports community consortiums: a group of communities, Indigenous communities, regions and regional districts, business associations, and other community partners who come together to collectively market their unique selling proposition that links them together. These collaborative initiatives help visitors better understand the diverse areas of the province, the unique experiences available within them, and the numerous ways to travel among them, while increasing visitation and room night revenue in shoulder seasons. Consortiums can include regional travel routes, Indigenous education initiatives, self-guided itineraries and more, such as:
- Visit South Kootenay (Kootenay Rockies): with capacity in summer and shoulder seasons, communities in the Lower Columbia Area are leveraging their collective brand as one of the last authentic, funky mountain destinations to strengthen its reputation as a must-visit spot year-round.
- Visit Northwest BC (Northern BC): aggregating the voices of rural communities for increased marketing impact while highlighting tourism businesses and self-guided driving and touring experiences along the Highway 16 corridor from Prince George through to the Coast, as well as Highways 37 and 37A.
- South Island Spirit Loop (Vancouver Island): municipalities and Indigenous communities working together to jointly promote and expand awareness and increased visitation to lesser-travelled areas with capacity, while offering visitors itinerary suggestions, tourism business referrals, and stories about the places they’ll visit.
- Cruise the Crowsnest (Thompson Okanagan): developed to encourage higher visitation to the communities along this key corridor between Manning Park and Christina Lake, while introducing visitors to the abundant scenery, history, and experiences along the way.
- BC Scenic Route 7 (Vancouver, Coast & Mountains): partnering to increase visitor expenditure by creating and marketing multi-destination trip itineraries, events, seasonal opportunities, and overnight stays along the route, increasing tourism revenue and stimulating economic recovery for communities along the corridor.
- Land of Hidden Waters (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast): communities of the South Cariboo, Lower North Thompson, Wells Gray and Kamloops uniting to educate self-guided visitors about the unique fishing, wildlife, and nature experiences along BC’s Fishing Highway and to position the Fishing Highway as a route of choice, promoting the corridors of Highways 24, 97, and 5, as well as the back road to Wells Gray Provincial Park.
Links and Resources:
Hon. Melanie Mark, Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport
“I am thrilled to see the tourism sector ramping up for summer in B.C. – we’re already seeing an increase in flights to BC and hotel occupancy rates soaring compared to last year! The co-operative funding from Destination British Columbia will help the tourism industry flourish in communities throughout the province. This is a key pillar of B.C.’s StrongerBC Economic Plan and the Strategic Framework for Tourism, supporting people, planet and prosperity, all rooted in reconciliation. We can’t wait to welcome the world back to B.C.”
Richard Porges, CEO, Destination BC
“Collaboration has been fundamental to BC’s tourism industry over the last two years and will continue to be the driving force behind our recovery as we look to the future. The co-op marketing partnerships program – and this year’s 84 projects that are finding unique ways to showcase every corner of our province – are a quintessential example of our successful ‘Team BC’ approach to tourism marketing, which we are continuing to build and leverage for our competitive edge and collective success.”
About Destination BC:
Destination BC is a provincially funded, industry-led Crown corporation that supports a strong and competitive future for BC’s tourism industry through a combination of global marketing, destination development, industry learning, cooperative community-based programs, and visitor servicing. Destination BC receives approximately $52 million each year, out of a Provincial investment of about $140 million in BC’s tourism ecosystem as a whole. These investments help to improve the visitor experience, support businesses and communities, and strengthen BC’s worldwide reputation as a destination of choice. For more information about Destination BC’s programs and services, please visit: http://www.DestinationBC.ca/