Survey says tourism will dominate economy

Respondents to a recent BC Chamber of Commerce survey said tourism will be the most important industry over the next decade.

  • Feb. 26, 2017 7:00 p.m.

Nearly 90 per cent of the respondents to a recent BC Chamber of Commerce member survey said tourism will be the most important industry for the province’s economy over the next decade.

About 1,200 businesses of all sizes from each region of the province were asked to rank the importance of B.C.’s primary industries over the next five to 10 years. Over half (52 per cent) of respondents pegged tourism at the top, followed by clean technology, health services and international trade.

Fernie Chamber of Commerce executive director Patty Vadnais said this is good news for Fernie.

“[BC Chamber of Commerce] does a great job of marketing the province to the world,” she said. “And that makes our job easier.”

British Columbia’s $15-billion visitor economy employs approximately 127,500 people in nearly 19,000 businesses.

The province also saw a spike of 12.2 per cent more international overnight entries in November 2016 over the same time in 2015.

According to the BC Chamber’s Collective Perspective survey, federal, provincial and municipal governments were all seen as supportive of business, however identified room for improvement on taxes, regulations and labour issues.

Respondents were generally positive about British Columbia’s economic climate and expected more growth in 2017.

“Given how well the industry has performed, the survey outcome is not a surprise,” said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., in a statement. “Tourism operators, destination marketing associations and multiple sectors have worked with all levels of government to build British Columbia’s visitor economy and ensure adequate levels of investment in infrastructure, marketing, new products and services, as well as policies that encourage growth and sustainability.”