Being launched as a Pilot for Fall 2022, #exploreBCruralislands will support shoulder visitation for Cormorant, Cortes, Gabriola, Hornby, Quadra. The Pilot will focus on honouring each of these islands for their distinctive characteristics and charm, while also promoting the cultural experience of visiting, and supporting in-person and/ digital engagement with the entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses across these islands. Visitation messaging will reinforce best practices for realizing responsible, respectful, conservation-focused, climate-aware tourism.
#exploreBCruralislands Will Promote:
- Respectful Tourism, Responsible Tourism
- Conservation Best Practices: Leave No Trace
- Fostering Eco-Tourism and Edu-Tourism
- Being A Climate Conscious Traveler: Promoting Carbon Neutral Travel
- Encouraging year-round support of rural island businesses and entrepreneurs
- Each island’s individual characteristics, while also celebrating the totality of all of BC’s rural islands
Sustainable Tourism Leads to “Regenerative Tourism”
Sustainable tourism helps spread tourist dollars to local communities, protects nature and wildlife, and eases the burden of overcrowding on popular tourist sites. Sustainable tourism is defined by the UN Environment Program and the UN World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts.
Going even further, “regenerative tourism” is characterised by a mission to not just avoid damage, but actually creates a positive impact and leaves a place better than it was before.
As a first step, #exploreBCruralislands will encourage visitors to choose goods produced locally in the locations they visit rather than imported souvenirs, helping keep money circulating through the local economy and also celebrating the local culture.
Next, there will be an emphasis on the incredible benefits of ridesharing as a tourist. Not only is it a more sustainable travel option (when possible), but by using public transportation, walking or biking, travelers can save money – making their travel plans more feasible and economic.
Island visitors will be encouraged to consider eco-tourism as part of their island travel plans. Eco-tourism amalgamates sustainable tourism and responsible travel while facilitating the protection of the natural environment as well as cultural and historical heritage.
Ready To Hit the Ground Running in Summer 2022!
To get started, an Advisory Committee representing these Islands will be meeting to guide the Pilot’s activities for the Fall 2022 season and through the Winter 2023 season.
Many thanks to the Cortes Island Community Economic Development Association, the 'Namgis Business Development Corp. of Cormorant Island, the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce, the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corp., the Discovery Islands Chamber of Commerce, FolkU-Cortes, and the BC Ferries Corp. for their collective support of RIEP’s successful Destination BC-Co-op Marketing application.