Do You Celebrate Tourism Week in Your Region?
Tourism is a booming industry around the world, and it's growing fast in Canada. It’s an industry that helps strengthen communities and can bring with it a host of benefits, including socio-cultural, environmental, and economic benefits.
Tourism creates jobs and brings a significant injection of money into the economy.Let’s take British Columbia as an example. In 2017, the tourism industry in British Columbia contributed $18.4 billion in revenue to the province’s economy. Tourism in 2017 contributed $9 billion to BC’s GDP, more than any other primary resource industry.
BC has more than 19,000 tourism companies. Most tourism companies are small businesses, which means they create local jobs and a significant portion of their profits remain in their communities. Approximately 1 in every 16 people working in BC in 2017 were working in the tourism industry. There are also more than 400 Indigenous tourism companies in BC, each playing an important role in preserving, sharing, and celebrating culture and history.
There’s no doubt that tourism is an economic powerhouse, but it can also have many other positive effects on your community. Together with cultural development it brings community members together to coordinate, connect, and collaborate, building stronger community bonds and community pride.
Canadian Tourism Week: A Celebration of Economic Growth
One of the ways to promote tourism and build awareness of the positive effects of the industry is to celebrate tourism week in your region. In 2019 tourism week ran from May 26 to June 1. Across the country communities celebrated the industry and raised awareness for further support of the industry from government. Do you celebrate tourism week in your region? It doesn’t have to be a huge province-wide undertaking, it can just be about your community, and it’s never too late to start planning for tourism week 2020. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada offers a variety of ideas that you can implement in your community for tourism week, from press releases to social media posts, including sample posts and graphics you can use.
Map Your Community’s Cultural Assets
Cultural mapping can enrich the lives of citizens and improve the attractiveness of your community by identifying your municipality’s cultural life-force.
Cultural mapping allows you to identify and gather your community’s cultural assets, so you can develop a tourism strategy and highlight all your community has to offer. This same asset inventory can also help you better attract your future labour force based on their criteria for community selection. Cultural mapping can also be a vital step in making your community more competitive for tourism dollars and for building your tax base.
Get Started: Identify Your Cultural Assets
The first step in cultural mapping is to identify the cultural assets your community already has. What events do you host every year (for example, music festivals, sports events, industry fairs)? Does your community have a unique aspect, like the perfect soil composition for wineries in Prince Edward County? These are the types of things you can capitalize on. There’s a wider audience out there that would love to visit your region for your unique features; they just need to know about them.
If you don’t yet have any events or unique traits to promote, pay attention to trends in your area. What grows in abundance in your region? For instance, are there plenty of apple orchards around? You could host an Apple Festival. Are there cultural venues sitting unused in your community, like a theatre? You could develop and host a film festival. Quirky or out-of-the-box ideas can be excellent options as well.
Engage Your Community
Now that you know what cultural assets your community has, you can focus on developing them. It’s important to get the community engaged at this stage. Strong engagement will not only foster creativity and collaboration, it will also build a stronger community. If you help fuel the local creative economy, it shows the public how much their community values the arts, culture, and diversity.
A community that clearly embraces the arts, culture, and diversity is very attractive for tourists. Visitors will help support the development of the key cultural assets you’ve already identified.