THE Government of British Columbia is investing another $5.97 million in 14 resort-oriented municipalities throughout the province to support and promote local tourism economies.

The Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) will have invested over $72.5 million since 2007 to assist resort-based municipalities in maintaining and growing a robust regional tourism economy. B.C.’s Tourism Sector is one of the eight key sectors identified in the BC Jobs Plan creating more than 125,000 jobs and over $13.4 billion in revenues in the province.

Communities will use this funding to enhance services and infrastructure geared at attracting more tourists and encouraging longer stays. Projects include:

* Trail improvements in Ucluelet, Valemount and Harrison Hot Springs.

* Signage and tourism information services in Golden, Revelstoke and Osoyoos.

* Shuttle services in Fernie, Invermere, Kimberley, Rossland and Tofino.

* Events and festivals in Radium Hot Springs, Sun Peaks and Whistler.

The 14 municipalities participating in the RMI program are: Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, said on Monday: “Investing in resort communities is crucial to economic development in our province, and these tourism hot-spots throughout British Columbia generate jobs and investment. Providing our resort municipalities with financial support helps them to focus on providing a memorable experience for visitors, ensuring they return to British Columbia and our resort municipalities in the future.”

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, said: “Successful resort communities boost tourism, create jobs, attract investment and generate business revenues. Investing in resort municipalities will help British Columbia’s economy continue to prosper into the future. We will keep working to help make B.C.’s resort communities great places to live and work, as well as play.”

Al Raine, Mayor of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality and Member of Destination BC board of directors, said: “RMI funding enabled Sun Peaks to launch itself as a major summer destination. The success of our RMI funded summer concert series with performances by Kevin Costner, Burton Cummings and Colin James and many others has given our community renewed confidence. With the increase in summer visitors, resort activities and employment are approaching our successful winter numbers. We now have summer visitors from B.C., the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and we are proud to be among the 127,600 British Columbians who work in the tourism industry.”


Quick Facts:

* Since 2007, through RMI, more than $72.5 million has been invested in tourism infrastructure and programs to support local and regional tourism economies.

* In 2012, the tourism sector employed 127,300 British Columbians, generated over $13.5 billion in revenue for tourism-related businesses and contributed over $7.1 billion to the province’s gross domestic product.

* Total tourism wages and salaries were $4.3 billion in 2012 and the number of British Columbians working in tourism-related activities is the highest it has been since 2009.

* Tourism is one of the largest industries in B.C., comprising over 18,000 businesses that directly employ more than 127,000 British Columbians. Through the Gaining the Edge strategy, the B.C. Government has set aggressive growth targets for the provincial tourism industry.