Destination BC may help bring more international tourists to Nelson.

New tourism push by province welcomed

Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism pleased with plan to revive an industry-led model of promoting BC to international tourists.

Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism is among the destination marketers applauding the BC government for reviving an industry-led model of promoting the province to international tourists.

“It sounds like an extremely positive move,” Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism executive director Dianna Ducs said of the news that a new crown corporation will manage BC tourism beginning next spring.

She hopes the change will result in better communication between provincial tourism marketing and the community destination marketing organizations like Nelson Kootenay Lake.

“Trying to get our message heard by one government minister can be a lot more challenging than just talking to our industry partners.”

The new crown corporation, called Destination BC, will take control of tourism operations beginning April 1. It will be governed by a board made up of nine government-appointed private sector directors. There will also be a tourism marketing committee, made up of representatives from each of the province’s six regional tourism destination marketing entities, including Kootenay-Rockies Tourism.

The model mirrors how Tourism BC was run, until it was disbanded in late 2009. Former Premier Gordon Campbell handed the task of attracting out of country visitors to a provincial ministry, but now Premier Christy Clark has put the wheels in motion to reverse the decision of her predecessor.

Clark announced the change at a press conference in Vancouver earlier this month.

She and Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell said the new crown corporation will focus on attracting international tourists from Asia, especially China and India.

Ducs said if the organization helps bring more international tourists to our area, it could change what types of activities our visitors will demand.

“We might have to adapt, tourism wise, to provide the services that these groups are more likely to enjoy,” Ducs said, noting bus tours and group adventure tours could gain popularity. “We’ll still be authentic and true to who we are. We aren’t ever going to be a Banff, and that’s why people come here — for the community.”

Clark hopes Destination BC will help increase tourism revenue to reach an annual target of $18 billion (a $4-billion increase) by 2014.

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