Stephanie Molina, executive director of Tourism Wells Gray. File photo

Clearwater to benefit from new provincial funding

Funds provided to help further develop tourism opportunities and bring new visitors to the area

Clearwater will be benefiting from some new funding from the provincial government aimed at helping further develop tourism opportunities and bringing new visitors to the area.

The funding is for rural communities affected by mill closures and will be provided by Destination BC to five regional destination marketing organizations (RDMOs), with each RDMO receiving $200,000 in catalyst funding to support strategic planning and destination development.

RDMOs will work together with the affected communities and government to prioritize the needs of the people who live there and determine what tourism investments will have the greatest impact.

“Tourism Wells Gray has been one of many local voices advocating for additional funding supports to our community in light of the mill closure,” said Stephanie Molina, executive director of TWG.

“I am very pleased to see this generous support of our rural communities, economy and tourism development.”

It’s likely that Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), local governments, various Ministry representatives, in addition to Tourism Wells Gray, will be meeting next month to discuss the funding opportunity and further plans.

Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA president and CEO, said in an email that his organization will be working closely with communities, regional and local economic development, and tourism agencies in using the funds to develop tourism initiatives and ultimately new business and job opportunities.

“Priorities are for destination development initiative(s) specifically targeting rural communities with populations of less than 25,000 who have been affected by permanent mill closures,” he said.

“Our goal, as we work closely with our partners, will be to find and develop legacy projects that will have a lasting positive impact and may be replicated in other communities in the future. Strategic tourism stewardship and management have the ability to make a significant impact on our entire region and we look forward to working together and assisting anywhere we can on bringing this to fruition.”

Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said in a press release that as the tourism market continues to expand globally, there are many communities in B.C. that hold great potential for tourism growth, while Premier John Horgan noted B.C. is a place with unparalleled natural beauty that is proud to invite the world to explore.

“This tourism investment will help bring new visitors to rural communities throughout the province, while also helping diversify and boost local economies,” Horgan said.

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