Christy Clark’s BC Liberal government has reestablished an industry-led tourism marketing bureau for the province under a new Crown corporation called “Destination BC.” The decision to establish Destination BC comes three years after the much-criticized Tourism BC dissolution in 2009 under the Gordon Campbell Government, just six months prior to the 2010 Olympics.
Tourism BC was a private sector influenced and market-oriented tourism marketing bureau for the province. It was established in 1997 under the NDP regime as a Crown corporation, and had been lauded for its successes in promoting tourism in BC.
However, shortly before the 2010 Olympics, an announcement on the dissolution of Tourism BC surprised the industry, especially given the fact that the province would be without a fully-operational tourism bureau ahead of the Games. On April 1, 2010, Tourism BC was officially merged into the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, which too no longer exists today and has become the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation.
Under new direct government control, tourism numbers have since waned since Tourism BC’s dissolution. The new Destination BC Crown corporation will build and improve on the old Tourism BC model of a tourism marketing agency operated by tourism operators who work in and know how the tourism industry operates.
The new agency also comes from the government’s aim of increasing tourism-driven economic activity in the province, from the current $13.3-billion to $18-billion by 2016. Destination BC will take over the government’s tourism operations in April 2013.
Last week, NDP opposition leader Adrian Dix made an announcement that was seemingly an attempt to upstage Clark’s announcement today. Dix said if his party were to win the May 2013 provincial election, his new NDP government would re-install Tourism BC.
Written by Kenneth Chan, a Columnist at Vancity Buzz. Follow me on Twitter: @kjmagine
Featured image credit: Tourism BC