People enjoying on Radley Beach in Burns Lake. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

People enjoying on Radley Beach in Burns Lake. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Over 70% respondents say Northern BC ready to welcome overnight stays

Survey finds Northern BC residents’ perceptions over tourism

A survey undertaken by Northern BC Tourism to gauge the residents’ understanding and perception of the tourism industry up north has revealed some interesting results.

After the COVID-related restrictions on travel, the tourism industry has been hit. The survey comes just in time for when the restrictions are slowly starting to lift. According to the survey, over 70 per cent respondents believe that the region is ready to welcome visitors for overnight stays.

“Throughout the pandemic we have remained optimistic for the future of the tourism industry in Northern BC. Our operators have been challenged, and they have risen to the occasion, implementing innovative new approaches, many even rethinking their business models,” said Clint Fraser, Chief Executive Officer, Northern BC Tourism Association.

This survey was done from May 17 to May 21 this year.

The survey also tried to assess people’s general understanding of why tourism was important and whether they thought it was important or not. Over 60 per cent of respondents believe tourism is either the most important or an important contributor to their community’s economy, 76 per cent believe tourism provides good employment for residents, and 69 per cent of respondents believe Northern BC is a good place to open a tourism related business.

A majority 82 per cent respondents believe money spent to support the tourism industry is a good investment, with nearly 60 per cent responding that they believe tourism funding should be a priority

“We are pleased to see the results from our resident survey indicate the region is aware of the challenges facing our tourism industry and they are keen to show their support,” said Fraser.

The recent data released by Northern BC Tourism Association (NBCTA) on tourism in Northern BC revealed that the region saw 661,700 visitors from across Canada in 2019, with 401,500 of those visitors being from B.C. and an additional 183,300 originating in Alberta. In a typical year, the months of July through September see over 500,000 overnight stays of just BC travellers to Northern BC. In the winter months, Northern BC sees 200,000 – 300,000 overnight stays by BC travellers, for an average of 347,000 per month.

According to NBCTA, these numbers prove the value of tourism to local economy and show that the region is and will be seeing increased focus on tourism industry in the future.