Simply stated, tourism matters.
It matters because it contributes to world citizenship by breaking down barriers, facilitating relationships, fostering connections and the sharing of cultures, and encouraging ambassadorship as people develop a sense of pride within their own communities.
From May 28 to June 3rd, Abbotsford is joining dozens of communities across British Columbia in recognition of National Tourism Week – a grassroots initiative aligning tourism organizations, businesses, and other partners around the common vision of supporting a tourism sector unencumbered by government policies and recognized for its robust contribution to the economy.
On a provincial level, BC’s tourism industry sees approximately 20M visitors each year year, contributing almost $16 billion in revenue to the economy. Locally, Abbotsford’s visitor economy experienced the third year in a row of record growth. Last year alone, the number of overnight visitors, staying in paid accommodations, increased by 7%, generating revenue that was 17% higher. Abbotsford benefitted from an estimated $32-$34M of economic activity.
To celebrate National Tourism Week, Tourism Abbotsford has created a video featuring five people who are immersed in the tourism world and can speak to the cultural value that tourism brings. The emerging themes were internal tourism (pride of community), recognizing our similarities (what we have in common is more prominent than our differences), and expanding our worldview as we engage with others and learn from one another.
“We see an internal tourism where people are proud of Abbotsford and we feel that tourism is how we broaden our sense of the world. Tourism enables us to reflect on commonalities that we have with other groups and we believe it helps to break down prejudices,” says Alyssa Short, Guest Services Manager at Highstreet Shopping Centre.
“Tourism acts as a leveler, highlighting our similarities, and encourages us to cross borders and become brand ambassadors,” states Judy Campbell, Co-owner and Production Manager at Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery.
“Tourists come to meet a new ‘people’ but realize that we have more in common that not,” says Chris Buis, Co-owner of Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel.
“As we host tourists in our community, we see Abbotsford for the first time through their eyes. It opens the door to diversity, from food to entertainment to landscape, and gives us the power to tell our story to the world—one of community, culture, family, and partnerships,” states Barb Roberts, Special Events and Film Coordinator for the City of Abbotsford.
“Appreciating the beauty of tulips isn’t something that just a certain race or gender can appreciate. I’ll see all ethnicities, age groups, and demographics coming out,” says Alexis Warmerdam, Founder of Bloom, The Abbotsford Tulip Festival.
Tourism is a powerful force that not only outpaces outpacing the overall economy, it enhances the amazing lifestyle we enjoy from recreational activity, resorts & restaurants, and wineries & breweries to museums & festivals and experiential adventures. It teaches us to embrace diversity, broaden our perspectives, and celebrate human connection.
From May 28 to June 3, share your favourite experiences with #TourismWeek #BCTourismMatters