Last week someone who represents First Nations vehemently opposed the exploration of oil and construction of a pipeline. He added: “…it will kill B.C.’s $7 billion tourist industry.”
Having worked for over 40 years in the travel industry I had to do a double take. How could I have been so wrong?
From my humble perch I see tourists buy a loud shirt in Honolulu and like to feel the sand between their toes. In Egypt most people like to have their picture taken, riding a camel in front of the pyramids. In Paris it’s the Eiffel Tower and croissants for breakfast every morning…
Visitors to Western Canada, unless they specifically come for the Stanley Cup, a convention or the Calgary Stampede, rent a motorhome in Calgary and drive through our glorious Rockies to Vancouver.
Depending on the amount of time available the ride could include Drumheller, Buffalo-Jump-Head-Smashed-In, Prince Rupert and Port Hardy.
It also works well in reverse. But even if they do things different, it always involves driving. Lots of it! That includes those visitors from South Carolina who overnight in motels, the sports fishermen who look for salmon in Campbell River or the Seattle skier who weekends in Whistler. They have to drive, ride or fly.
We have now raised a generation of people who were made to believe that using gas is a sin and will destroy the planet. Why are we surprised that our tourism, which consists of so much driving, is tanking?
With all due respect, all those speaking on behalf of First Nations or Tourism BC concerns may wish to take a reality check.
Find out what my tourists do or have done while here.
Besides, most of us now know, thanks to Vivian Krause, how much ‘charity’ money has gone to First Nations and others to oppose the development of our natural resources.
They no longer project the clean image their sponsors had hoped to take advantage of.