Shirley Bond Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Shirley Bond
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour

Victoria: British Columbia’s tourism sector had a very successful year in 2014 as we welcomed visitors from around the globe. Destination British Columbia and local tourism marketers did a fantastic job marketing our natural assets, unique experiences and world-class customer services.
B.C.’s hotels and restaurants and tourism attractions are gaining an exceptional reputation around the world and boosting our appeal as a destination.

In 2014, British Columbia received significant recognition including:
* SKI Magazine’s annual reader’s poll named Whistler Blackcomb the number one, overall ski resort in North America.
* The Okanagan Valley was ranked second place for Best Wine Region in the world by USA Today Readers’ Choice.
* Travel + Leisure Magazine handed out two awards to B.C. — Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn was named 2014’s top resort in Canada and Vancouver Island was named Best Island in the Continental U.S. and Canada.
* Revelstoke’s Bighorn resort – http://www.bighornrevelstoke.com/ – won best ski chalet in the world, for the second year in a row, from the World Ski Awards, the international organization that rewards excellence in ski tourism.
* Gwaii Haanas National Reserve in the Haida Gwaii was named as a top-15 finalist in the inaugural National Geographic World Legacy Awards for its protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites, cultural events, indigenous heritage and artistic traditions.
* B.C. tourism also got global recognition when Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark was designated as the first Global Geopark in western North America by UNESCO.

The tourism sector continues to grow in B.C. The tourism industry generated $13.9 billion in revenue in 2013 – a 3.6% increase over 2012 and a 44.3% increase from 2003. There are now more than 19,000 tourism businesses throughout the province, and many of them are small businesses.

Aboriginal tourist experiences in B.C. generated $43 million in revenue in 2013. Early indicators suggest that this level of spending continued to grow through 2014.
These are impressive numbers that illustrate why the tourism industry is one of the key sectors in our BC Jobs Plan. In fact, there are over 132,000 jobs in the tourism sector in B.C.
Government is making investments in key areas to foster tourism’s growth and improving the business climate for tourism. How? By significantly reducing red tape and processing times for land-based tenure applications, as well as changing B.C.’s liquor laws by allowing happy hours and the sales of craft beer and wine at farmers’ markets.
We’re working hard to stand out in an increasingly competitive international marketplace. In 2015, we will continue to focus on developing and marketing B.C.’s world-class tourism products, such as touring vacations, city experiences, skiing and snowboarding, conventions and meetings, and outdoor adventure and eco-tourism.
In November, Destination British Columbia, the Province’s tourism marketing organization, launched B.C.’s revitalized tourism brand designed to elevate B.C. as a destination by highlighting what makes us unique. Destination BC produced an awe- inspiring video that showcases the magnificence of our natural landscape: http://www.destinationbc.ca/

They will use the revitalized brand to inspire travellers, looking to create their own unique stories and experiences, to visit B.C.
We have truly exceptional travel experiences to offer to the world. Using a partnership-based approach we plan to showcase our amazing province to potential visitors around the globe and motivate them to visit communities throughout British Columbia.
When planning your 2015 vacation, consider booking a spectacular, award-winning experience in British Columbia. For incredible vacation ideas, we encourage you to visit: HelloBC.com