Dianna Ducs at Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

COLUMN: Let’s celebrate tourism week

Dianna Ducs suggests we turn Tourism Week (this week) into Tourism Month. Photo submitted

By Dianna Ducs

Last week was Tourism Week, and this year at Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, we’d like you to join us in a bigger idea: Tourism Month! (Not unlike Burger Week that really is a month long, or Customer Appreciation Day that is more like a week long. We seem to comfortably redefine to suit our passions.)

The tourism industry deserves to be recognized, supported, and thanked as they all struggle through this unprecedented time. Tourism businesses are key to our economy and lifestyle.

In 2018, B.C. tourism contributed more to GDP than any other primary resource industry. Tourism, $8.3 billion; mining, $5.2 billion; oil and gas, $4.9 billion; forestry and logging, $1.8 billion; and agriculture and fishing, $3.2 billion.

Tourism impacts all of us, whether you are a shop employee, front desk clerk, restaurant staff, recreation operator, store owner or customer. It’s probably safe to say that each of us know someone employed by a tourism-related business in the region. Tourism provides a job for approximately one out of every 16 people employed in BC. In our region, Nelson to Meadow Creek, and Kootenay Bay to Wynndel, it is probably higher, with our small population base and strong tourism economy. It is substantial.

“Tourism improves quality of life for British Columbians in many ways,” says Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “It creates good jobs in every region of the province and allows us to enjoy festivals, museums, sports, arts and culture, making B.C. a better place to live and visit. The tourism industry is essential to the fabric of B.C.”

What can we do?

We all love where we live and there is a feast of things to enjoy here all year round. You just need to meander down to the beach, or up a mountain, or into a bustling main street to experience something amazing.

With borders temporarily closed to Americans, and BC Parks limiting guests to B.C. residents, it’s our time to stay local, do a local road trip – a staycation. Bolstering our domestic market through investing locally can make the difference that is needed to keep our valuable tourism businesses and economy alive. No one wants to see stores boarded up, people unemployed, and neighbours move away due to lack of jobs.

If you have the ability to get away, for a day, or two, or even a week, please do it, but stay local. We will all be thankful.

I and the board of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism would like to sincerely, and directly thank all the tourism-related businesses and employees who are leading examples of creativity, determination, and courage. We are proud to support and work with these 160 plus businesses across the region. Tourism Month is something to celebrate – let’s do it together!

Visit www.nelsonkootenaylake.com and discover your own backyard. Share your travel photos with us using #findingawesome and #kootenayroadtrip. On June 25 we will choose one of the posted images to win an awesome Nelson and Kootenay Lake Package Getaway.

Dianna Ducs is the executive director of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

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