B.C.'s Tourism Strategy

Around the globe, tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors. This growth means tourism is also one of the most competitive industries. The province's tourism strategy will ensure British Columbia can compete and is poised for continued growth.

In September 2015, the Province released its updated three-year strategy for the tourism sector to support the BC Jobs Plan commitment to grow tourism revenue and jobs, and showcase the important role tourism plays in many parts of our economy.

B.C.'s tourism strategy, Gaining the Edge: 2015-2018 (PDF, 2.8 MB) builds on the momentum from the first version released in 2012. The updated strategy renewed our investment commitments and created new actions to address emerging opportunities.

Since 2015, B.C. has made significant progress in advancing the key pillars of its provincial tourism strategy. You can read about these key accomplishments in Gaining the Edge: 2017 Progress Update (PDF, 3.6 MB).

B.C.'s tourism strategy relies on the efforts of multiple government agencies to ensure provincial policies and programs are aligned to support tourism’s growth and sustainability.  The Province plays an important role in supporting and facilitating this growth including the effective management and administration of activities on Crown land, support for culture and arts, investments in parks and protected areas, transportation and infrastructure, as well as our many unique heritage attractions and vast network of recreational trails. The complex programs and policies that guide the management of these unique tourism assets can each have a direct or indirect impact on B.C.’s desirability as a preferred travel destination and place to do business.

Destination BC, the provincial tourism marketing agency plays a key role in leading tourism marketing and development activities for the province.  Destination BC delivers on key actions under Gaining the Edge by showcasing B.C. and the Super, Natural British Columbia® brand to the world with the goal of increasing the number of visitors to the province and the economic benefits generated by the industry.

Collectively, these efforts help diversify our local economies to ensure their growth and prosperity. The value of tourism is exponential. Every tourist dollar spent in B.C. gets reinvested into our communities, providing benefits for residents and visitors alike.

Strategy Highlights

Goal 1: Leadership through Partnership, Alignment and Coordination

  • Work with government agencies, marketing organizations, communities and tourism associations to align tourism marketing and development roles and activities (national, provincial, regional and community) to eliminate duplicate efforts and address critical gaps.
  • Create a more consumer-focused, evidence-based and accountable approach to tourism investments.

Goal 2: Focused Marketing

  • Use innovative strategies to drive long-term growth in visitation.
  • Target provincial marketing efforts, using sound research and focusing on high potential markets.

Goal 3: World-Class Experiences

  • Build an outstanding system of tourism information supporting travellers’ needs and preferences.
  • Take full advantage of the tourism benefits of investments in public infrastructure.
  • Support the development of outstanding tourism experiences and services across British Columbia.

Goal 4: Enhancing Competitiveness and Sustainability

  • Increase the competitiveness of British Columbia's tourism businesses.
  • Ease the flow of travellers to, and within British Columbia.
  • Enhance Crown land policies to support the needs of nature-based tourism businesses.
  • Support the development and retention of a strong tourism workforce.

Performance Indicators

In its first iteration in 2012, Gaining the Edge established an aggressive, multi-year revenue target of $18 billion by 2016. This target was bold, aspirational, difficult to reach, and perfect for the fastest growing sector of British Columbia’s economy.

To reflect this momentum and the Province’s commitment to pursue the tremendous opportunities tourism can bring, the newly updated strategy maintains the target of 5% annual revenue growth. While this target remains ambitious, it is achievable if world conditions remain favourable.

Furthermore, this strategy includes a number of benchmarks for tourism performance to keep pace within a competitive global marketplace. These indicators include:

  • Tourism volume and revenue growth rates;
  • Growth of overnight visitor expenditures;
  • Tourism contribution to provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP);
  • Number of tourism businesses, including Aboriginal cultural tourism enterprises;
  • Tourism employment (provincial and regional);
  • Average tourism salary;
  • Overall International arrivals; and
  • Arrivals from key markets (e.g. USA, China).

Together, these indicators offer the tourism industry a clear picture of the state of tourism in British Columbia and opportunities to amplify growth.