The funding comes from the government’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI), which helps to grow the tourism sector in eligible municipalities. This year, the B.C. government is providing a total of $10.5 million to 14 eligible communities and is extending the RMI program for another year to the end of 2017.
Municipalities eligible for RMI funding are Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.
More than $98.1 million in RMI funding has been invested since 2006 to support the unique challenges and opportunities faced by these smaller resort-oriented municipalities. Communities will use this funding to enhance infrastructure and services crucial to growing the tourism sector that drives their local economies. Projects range from trail and boardwalk improvements to venue development and tourist information services.
The RMI program helps these resort municipalities to increase the number of visitors and their length of stay, broaden resort activities to expand the length of the tourist season, grow employment, and diversify the local tax base.
Tourism is one of the sectors identified in the BC Jobs Plan which continues to build on the strengths of eight of the province’s most competitive sectors, utilizing B.C.’s educated and skilled workforce, keeping the economy diverse, strong and growing.
The B.C. tourism industry created 132,200 jobs and generated $13.9 billion in revenues in 2013. RMI supports the BC Jobs Plan and Gaining the Edge: B.C.’s Tourism Strategy by helping resort-based municipalities address the unique challenges they face as seasonally dependent economies. In addition to RMI funding, the Province invests more than $90 million annually in the tourism sector throughout B.C.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, said on Monday: “The Resort Municipality Initiative is designed to help improve and strengthen the economies of resort communities around the province. We know that the tourism sector helps drive our diverse economy and is a significant job creator. We want to ensure that when visitors choose to enjoy one of these resort municipalities they have a memorable experience and that it motivates them to continue to make British Columbia their year round destination of choice.”