Tourism matters to the local economy

It matters with job creation, productivity and regional economic expansion.

Tourism matters and plays a vital role in our economic health. It matters with job creation, productivity and regional economic expansion.

Tourism matters to our province’s economy, and it matters right here in northwestern B.C.

Consider the impact that thousands of leisure and business travelers create on our province’s hoteliers, restaurateurs, retailers, attractions, and countless other businesses.

British Columbia’s tourism industry annually generates almost $13.9 billion dollars in direct travel spending into the economy from millions of domestic and international visitors, directly supporting jobs for more than 127,500 residents.

Putting this into perspective for our northern BC residents – in 2014, tourism contributed $1 billion into the northern B.C. economy, with $34 million coming into Terrace.

With 500,000 square kilometers of astonishingly diverse geography, northern BC boasts recreation and wildlife-viewing opportunities year-round.

More than 60 provincial, national and marine parks and wildlife refuges offer access to unique ecosystems and priceless cultural heritage treasures.

In Terrace you can land one of the world-renowned salmon that draw anglers 10 months of the year fishing on the Skeena River or on one of the many tributaries in the area.

World class backcountry touring is readily available in the winter and spring months with launching points directly from Canada’s first non-profit community owned co-op ski hill, Shames Mountain.

Northern B.C.’s mountain biking scene is earning a reputation as an up and coming destination, with Terrace having unique routes ranging from downhill, to cross country and alpine trails.

Being located just 90 minutes from Prince Rupert, 60 minutes from the Nass Valley and 45 minutes from Kitimat, Terrace serves as the base camp for some of its 4,000-plus visitors that use Terrace’s visitor centre each year.

Being just an afternoon’s drive from world class historic and cultural sites and attractions, domestic guests on average, stayed 3.8 nights and spent $125 per night during their trip.

U.S. travel parties stayed 3.1 nights and spent $229 per night during their trip.

Other international travel parties, mostly from Europe, stayed an average of 9 nights and spent $130 per night during their trip in northern British Columbia.

These expenditures are happening right here in our region and we’re seeing direct benefits of this in our local economy.

Expect a busy tourist season this summer due to the low Canadian dollar.

That’s because Canadians are more likely to stay in Canada and with a weak dollar, expect to see an influx of American travelers.

The Kermodei Tourism Society is active in all areas pursuing its mandate to establish Terrace and the surrounding region as the premier eco-tourism destination in northwestern B.C.

Working in conjunction with our stakeholders and industry leaders we address product and infrastructure development, marketing, training and education.

While managing the Terrace Visitor Centre, the society distributes 20,000 copies of their annual Visit Terrace guide while meeting travelers from around the world, sharing their local knowledge and promoting the tourism products and activities in our region.

In thinking about the overall economic impact of tourism, consider the following:

A new study shows a 38 per cent increase in tourism revenue over the last decade, proving the sector is a major economic driver for the province.

There are more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and over 17,000 (almost 93 per cent) of those businesses are small businesses.

Tourism contributed $7.1 billion in GDP in 2014 to the provincial economy, 4.5 per cent growth over 2013.

Tourism now employs 127,500 people, a 2.2 per cent increase over 2013.    Average salaries in tourism have increased 10 per cent since 2004.

Tyler Clarke is the Tourism Manager of The Kermodei Tourism Society, the destination marketing organization for Terrace and area.