Destination BC will provide just over $200,000 to support more than 30 projects across British Columbia to test and document innovative approaches to providing visitor services, the corporation announced today.
Communities across the province, including Qualicum Beach, New Westminster, Vernon, Dawson Creek and Nelson are among those that will pilot innovative visitor services concepts in the coming months. New visitor services delivery approaches include roaming visitor counsellors, mobile information displays, state-of-the-art touch screen kiosks and the use of social media channels.
Visitor services, such as trip planning and information delivery, help extend visitor stays and spending by introducing new travel ideas to visitors while in province. As part of its corporate strategy, Destination BC conducted a consultation process with more than 100 community-operated visitor centres between November 2014 and July 2015 to explore ways to modernize the delivery of visitor services around the province. Following the consultation process, communities were encouraged to submit project proposals to test some of the innovative ideas that arose during the consultation.
The results of these pilots, as well as case studies on some existing innovative approaches, will be presented at the Visitor Service Network conference hosted by Destination BC this October in Vancouver and will be available for other communities to learn from and build upon during the next few years.
Tourism is a critical part of BC’s economy. The industry is showing excellent growth and has huge opportunity ahead. BC’s international overnight visitors grew by 5.3% in 2014. Tourism employed more than 132,000 people in British Columbia in 2013, generating an additional 3,800 new jobs from the previous year.
Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination BC:
“Our research tells us that visitors’ information and trip planning needs have changed. New technologies and delivery of information to visitors where they are and when they need it are fundamental to evolving the visitor services model. We applaud the communities that are embarking on these exciting initiatives and are looking forward to the results of these pilots.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour:
“We know that technology is changing the way people book and research their travel. This investment will help communities adapt their services to fit their communities and unique tourism profiles. We hope these pilots will find better ways to serve changing tourist needs and help communities improve visitor services to grow our growing tourism sector.”