BC’s economy is changing, and a large part of that change is increasing reliance on tourism. In 2017, tourism contributed $9 billion to BC’s GDP – more than any other primary resource industry. The industry’s contribution to GDP has grown over 37 per cent since 2007. For towns like Revelstoke that are moving from a heavy resource reliance into a blended economy, that growth is encouraging.
However, we recognize that it’s essential that tourism be managed in a sustainable way that brings maximum benefit to the community.
Joffre Lakes near Pemberton is BC’s prime example of a place that became a victim of its own popularity. Throughout British Columbia people are saying that they don’t want their favourite spot to turn into another Joffre Lakes, and they don’t want their town to become another Whistler or Banff. We don’t want that either.
Managing our growing number of visitors is at the forefront of our minds. Our goal is to manage Revelstoke as a destination. It’s essential that we maintain authenticity, prevent crowding and over-tourism, and work to see that everyone benefits from the effects of tourism in our town. After all, we recognize it’s our locals that co-create the visitor experience.
Destination management is an important consideration; we see our role as promoting, yes, but in a way that makes sense for our community. Our marketing strategy considers what kind of visitors we want and our “best guests.”
We target people who love the outdoors as much as we do, and respect the environment in which they travel. Our ideal visitor is hungry for adventure, not just a great photo op. In 2020, we’re focusing on expanding our shoulder season offerings and encouraging existing visitors to stay a little longer, seeing Revelstoke as a stand-alone destination in all seasons.
We believe that inspiring our visitors to hike up at Mount Revelstoke, raft down the Illecillewaet River, or tandem ride on a paraglider will help our visitors get a sense of the wildness and authenticity of Revelstoke.
That presents an obvious question: how do we sustainably manage tourism in our community while preserving Revelstoke’s authenticity?
The only way we will achieve sustainable success is through collaboration with our community to develop an approach that works for our residents. In November 2019, we hosted a tourism Stakeholders Open House to share our 2020 strategy with our business community, and we would love to receive further community feedback from you, our residents.
Look for our booth in 2020 at the farmer’s markets and for an online community input survey.