VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberals’ cuts to tourism marketing will hurt tourism in the Cariboo, with the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association being forced to lay off most of its staff, New Democrats say.
“B.C.’s tourism industry needs a comprehensive marketing strategy to protect jobs and draw visitors to regions like Cariboo-Chilcotin,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, New Democrat critic for Tourism, Culture and the Arts. “Cutting back on marketing when the industry is already struggling makes no economic sense.”
Recent B.C. statistics show that the Cariboo experienced no boost in tourism from the Olympics.
“B.C. invested a significant amount of money in the Olympics, hoping it would increase tourism. But there has been no follow through,” said Bob Simpson, the New Democrat MLA for Cariboo-North. “As the world recovers from the global recession, investment in B.C.’s tourism sector will be vital to creating a stable and sustainable industry in the future.”
“The Olympics brought images of British Columbia to television sets around the globe. Now that the Games are over, it’s time to seal the deal and entice potential visitors to come visit all regions of the province. But B.C. Liberal cuts to Tourism B.C. have resulted in the elimination of key marketing staff in regions across British Columbia,” said Chandra Herbert.
Simpson and Chandra Herbert met with the CCCTA in February. The organization expressed concerns about a lack of a post-Games plan to draw in tourists whose interest was piqued during the Olympics.
Cuts to tourism marketing come just ahead of the July 1 introduction of the HST, which the Council of Tourism Associations has said could cost the industry upwards of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“It’s clear that the B.C. Liberals do not understand that a solid and competitive marketing plan will be vital to drawing tourism revenue to the province,” said Chandra Herbert.
New Democrats understand that many people’s livelihoods are directly and indirectly linked to the tourism sector, and are calling on the B.C. Liberals to support these jobs.