The reinstatement of ferry service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola in June 2018 will mean more tourists coming through the area. Photo: BC Ferries.

The reinstatement of ferry service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola in June 2018 will mean more tourists coming through the area. Photo: BC Ferries.

New tourism funding and new ferry route will help draw more visitors

The return of ferry service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola will bring more tourists to the area.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association’s (CCCTA) application for funds through the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) program, to support tourism recovery within the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region, has been approved.

The addition of a three per cent tax on accommodations will take effect on May 1, 2018, and the CCCTA is working with the Ministry of Finance to ensure accommodation providers in the CCCTA region (excluding Quesnel and Wells) are aware of how to properly collect and remit the tax. The additional funds will be managed by a local tourism industry marketing committee, and it is expected that the MRDT, which is applicable until 2023, will stimulate an injection of approximately $1 million in new marketing funds annually to drive more visitation to the region.

The addition of the MRDT will provide a much-needed marketing boost, along with other ongoing recovery efforts from last year’s devastating wildfires, being undertaken by the CCCTA; Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Emergency Management BC; Destination BC; and the Province of British Columbia.

A recently released report on the economic impact of the 2017 wildfires to the region estimated direct revenue losses to tourism-related businesses at $55 million. Additional economic impact estimates included a total economic impact of $101 million; an estimated GDP loss of $63 million; and some 98 per cent of tourism businesses impacted.

“These funds, along with other generous investments by our tourism industry partners, will go a long way to ensuring our key markets are informed that the exceptional visitor experiences provided by our region are available for the 2018 tourism season and beyond,” says CCCTA CEO Amy Thacker.

In anticipation of a successful MRDT application, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association applied for cooperative funds under the Destination BC Open Pool competitive program and was awarded $225,000 for the coming fiscal year to also fund the marketing of visitor experiences in the region.

One new experience which will be widely promoted is the June 2018 arrival of BC Ferries’ Northern Seawolf, which will run on the new “Great Bear Rainforest route” connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola.

This critical connection creates the ultimate B.C. journey: travelling to Vancouver Island through the world-renowned Great Bear Rainforest and Chilcotin Plateau, and along the historic Gold Rush Trail through the CCCTA and Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association regions.

“While the fires were devastating to our industry, we are resilient and strong in our commitment to continue to showcase our region to the world,” says CCCTA’s board chair, Andre Kuerbis. “We applaud the support of our provincial government and Destination BC in helping us continue to market that the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is open for the 2018 season with some of the best outdoor and wilderness experiences in the world.”

The approval of the MRDT funding follows last year’s $200,000 investment announced by Minister Lisa Beare, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. These funds were used specifically to encourage local British Columbians to book a vacation in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. The “It’s Your Backyard—Come Out and Play” campaign is live now (

Destination BC also invested an additional $400,000 to go toward increasing awareness of the fall and winter opportunities for travel and the unique experiences in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. This support will continue with the spring “Explore BC” campaign, airing on Global TV.

For more information about the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast tourism region, visit

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