Staycations promoted for B.C. tourists

A provincial campaign is urging British Columbians to take vacations close to home this month.

A provincial campaign is urging British Columbians to take vacations close to home this month as the province has declared August as Staycation Month.

Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, said vacations close to home can benefit the local economy.

“Tourism is a huge economic driver for British Columbia,” she said. “When you take a staycation, you’re not only supporting vital businesses in your town or city; you’re also helping to create jobs in B.C.”

The tourism industry employs 127,000 people in British Columbia, or one out of every 15 jobs.

She said Summerland and the rest of the Okanagan Valley have already gained strong reputations for wine tourism. “Who would go to the Napa Valley when you could go to the Okanagan?” she asked.

To promote Staycation Month, Yamamoto urges people to post pictures of their B.C. vacations on Twitter, with the hashtags #staycationbc or #explorebc.

While Staycation Month is aimed at British Columbians, Yamamoto said the province also receives plenty of tourists from other provinces and other countries.

The greatest number of international visitors are from the United States, followed by China and the United Kingdom.

Since the Chinese government gave Canada approved destination status five years ago, the number of tourists from China has increased significantly.