VICTORIA – More than 100 communities throughout British Columbia can do more to support and promote local tourism initiatives as a result of provincial funding.

This year, over $1 million is being shared among 307 grassroots projects through the Community Tourism Opportunities (CTO) program, now in its fifth year of operation. The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation program assists communities to implement their own tourism initiatives,with our government acting as a funding partner, by providing matching monies upon the completion of eligible projects. Individual communities are eligible for up to $9,200 from the Province. In instances where clusters of communities have collaborated on a proposal, the maximumavailable funding is $23,000.

Both marketing and development projects are eligible under the program. Some examples of initiatives supported include print and broadcast advertising, event promotion, interpretative maps, tourist-related signage, online activities, tourism brochures and research. The CTO program is co-ordinated by B.C.’s six regional destination marketing organizations which receive the funding from the ministry.

Tourism is one of the key economic sectors identified in ‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’. The Province’s new tourism strategy builds on the Jobs Plan, providing a framework for government and industry to work together to attract more visitors and create jobs for British Columbians. The strategy focuses on increasing the number of visitors by building on the global awareness generated by the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Quotes:

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation – “When we launched our new Provincial Tourism Strategy last fall, we renewed our commitment to grow tourism in every region of British
Columbia. This co-operative funding partnership between communities, regional tourism associations and the Province will assist in the development and implementation of local tourism initiatives, which, in turn, support economic growth, new business opportunities and job creation.”

Amy Thacker, CEO, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association – “The Community Tourism Opportunities program provides essential support to rural communities throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. These infusions, of matching monies, allow communities of every size to advance projects and tactics that would not occur otherwise. Activities are diverse, from brochures to accessible trail projects and CTO funding enables communities to continually grow and develop potential opportunities.”