Latest overnight custom entries from Stats Canada show a strong 2015 BC tourism season, with visitor numbers up by 238,000 for the first eight months of the year – an increase of 7.1% over last year.
The news comes on the heels of the BC Tourism Conference last week at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where the Northern BC Tourism Association was the recipient of one of five major annual awards.
NBCTA was the winner of the Innovation Award which recognizes an individual, organization or consortium which has devised and implemented an innovative initiative or marketing campaign directed at increasing the number of visitors to or within BC.
In this case, the NBCTA received the award for the design and activation of the Northern BC Tourism Plaza during this year’s Canada Winter Games held last February in Prince George.
It brought together a team of 18 communities and two regional districts from north and central BC, was the largest multi-sport and cultural event ever held in this part of the province, and the Plaza saw more than 20,000 visitors from across Canada over a two week period.
The awards were first handed out in 1999, and CEO Marsha Walden, of Destination BC, called winning this year an incredible achievement given “the high calibre of nominations received.”
The NBCTA represents one of six tourism regions in the province and it covers by far the greatest amount of territory – extending all the way from Prince George, North to the Yukon and Alaskan borders, and from the Alberta border, to the North coast.
Much of it is preserved and protected by a world-class system of provincial parks and nature reserves and it covers a wilderness area, larger than California or Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdom.
Still, it has roughly two dozen population centres of note, including the officially listed cities of Prince George, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Kitimat, Terrace and Stewart.