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

Penticton’s second Snakebite festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Snakebite Film Festival showing LBGT, Indigenous and other diverse films

LETTER: Funds were borrowed from ICBC and B.C. Hydro

Method helped government hype but depleted needed money in the corporations

Wonderful addition to existing park

Writer wants to see 28 acres added to Okanagan Provincial Park

LETTER: Questions raised about high docks in Summerland

Public docks were replaced following damage from flooding on Okanagan Lake

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read