Angela Nagy, president and CEO of Greenstep Solutions, a multi-faceted sustainable services company based in Kelowna. Photo: Barry Gerding/Black Press

B.C. tourism can lead in long-term sustainability

Facing the realities of climate change, collaboration and conserving ecosystems

The path to a long-term sustainable tourism industry must address impacts of climate change and environment restoration.

Jill Doucette, with Synergy Enterprises, says tourism growth has been a destructive force in some countries, and cites the examples of Hawaii and Peru where tourism has thrived but with little benefit to the Indigenous people of those countries.

“There is something very wrong with that. We need to collectively change our mindset about conservation within the context of growing our businesses, growing our tourism industry,” she said.

Doucette was joined by Angela Nagy, founder of GreenStep Solutions in Kelowna, for a workshop on ideas to develop a sustainable tourism industry at the BC Tourism Industry conference taking place in Kelowna on Friday.

Doucette said climate impact on tourism was a focus of a three-day conference at Victoria in January, where she said some uncomfortable debate took place concerning the relationship between a clean environment and tourism growth, and the need within government ministries to collaborate more effectively on tourism industry crossover interests.

Related: Five steps to building sustainability

“The thing about tourism is that it touches on many branches of government, but it was clear to many of us that is not currently being recognized in policy decisions,” Doucette said.

Regarding climate change, Doucette noted that Canada is committed to a 30 per cent reduction in 2005 emission standards by 2030, while B.C.’s goal is 80 per cent reduction to 2007 emission levels by 2050.

But she noted other communities, industries and countries are already initiating policies designed to enhance environment protection within the tourism industry.

She cited the example of Tofino, on Vancouver Island, which adopted a community-wide ban on straws, and France which has set 2020 for the regulatory enforcement of a ban on plastic plates, cups and cutlery.

Plastic garbage litter on beaches is an environment hazard and landfill disposal headache to deal with, she noted, and can be a detrimental aspect to tourism promotion.

She said Qantas Airlines is already using biofuels to replace jet fuel airplanes flying out of Los Angeles to Australia.

She said setting a responsible tone for the footprint left behind by visiting tourists is an important element of any sustainable tourism development strategy, and that tone has to be set by local tourism operators and governments.

Nagy said the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association made a strong step in that direction, undertaking a rigorous process to be accredited by the Responsible Tourism Institute with a biosphere destination certificate.

The Thompson-Okanagan region is one of only 20 areas around the world, and the only one in North America, to earn this designation to earn recognition

She said the process involved nearly 140 questions that had to be answered, requiring interviews with government, community and tourism leader industries to complete.

Related: TOTA recognized for responsible tourism

“Now (TOTA) has a framework in place to move forward and engage local government in policy issues related to tourism,” Nagy said.

Doucette added that while it’s impossible to plan for weather related disasters such as the flooding and wildfires experienced last spring and summer across the Southern Interior, she said we can prepare for how to react to them.

“We want to make sure our tourism guests first and foremost are safe. We had a tsunami warning in Victoria in January and most of us just slept through it, so we were definitely not prepared to deal with that kind of event,” she said.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Business savy volunteers sought in North Okanagan

Community Futures looking for members to join advisory panel, board and loans committee

New Vernon resident building skills and community

The Respect Works Here November Multicultural Community Champion

Handwritten notes from ‘Sean’ not a scam or illegal

Notes appearing in mailboxes across Vernon and Shuswap a marketing ploy

Vernon-based Tolko shuts BC divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

SilverStar to open Nordic trails this weekend

25 km of groomed trails are ready to explore by cross-country skiers

Gym enthusiasts invited to get in gear for kids

Spin4Kids Saturday at GoodLife Fitness

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Malakwa woman still in the running for winning American baking show

Janet Letendre is the only Canadian competing on the Holiday Baking Championship

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Salmon Arm businesses tipped off to Black Press advantage

Black Press Media hosts day of presentations for local business representatives

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

Disciplinary hearing date set for South Okanagan pharmacy

Hearing will take place on Dec. 4 in Vancouver

Most Read