Skip to content

Building year-round tourism is Quesnel’s key

Tourism sector looks to evolve after pandemic

With Cariboo tourism operations standing tall at the recent Tourism BC awards, and tourist season within sight, Quesnel Visitor Centre (QVC) staff were getting deeper into the local tourism sector at the Destination BC Visitor Services Conference, along with 115 delegates from 75 different communities within B.C.

QVC’s Katharine Wall had the following insights.

The focus for Visitor Services in 2022 had been on recovery post-COVID, however in 2023 we will be focusing on building instead of recovery. 2022 saw a return to pre-pandemic levels, with an average of 2-million visitors stopping in at Visitor Centres across B.C., a 77 per cent increase from 2021. Recovery in most areas has happened faster than anticipated, although areas heavily dependent on international travel are slower to recover.

Focus this year will be on the impact tourism has on individual communities. Tourism initiatives should provide positive benefits for residents of the community as well as sharing experiences with those visiting B.C. There has been an estimated $725-million invested in over 1,000 projects benefiting tourism in B.C.

Destination BC’s 2023-2025 projected core focus is on reducing seasonality by growing the tourism economy in all seasons:

- Using place branding and destination development to move away from seasonal tourism.

- Focus placed on year round tourism, eliminating shoulder seasons.

- Enable more tourism organizations to access technologies by providing training usually only available to large businesses.

- Support opportunities for Indigenous communities and nations through tourism.

Destination BC provided $200,000 to 47 communities through a new Indigenous Learning & Projects Grant for Visitor Services. This program helped Visitor Centre staff in communities across B.C. by enhancing relationships and enabling partners to work collaboratively on projects, activities, and training that will foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture, history and tourism products.

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
Read more