The tourism industry on the Sunshine Coast has experienced a lot of change in the last few years, and we want to make sure we are moving in the right direction. We would like your input on how you would like to see our tourism industry evolve. To make this possible, we’re hosting a series of conversations with residents who live on the Sunshine Coast. The input from these sessions will be used to inform future plans, actions and activities. We welcome you to take part!
Resident Conversations – Background
What we’ve been doing
The small and dedicated Sunshine Coast Team works to responsibly grow awareness of the Sunshine Coast—from Langdale to Lund and places nearby—through inspiring and engaging marketing that brings responsible visitors to local businesses and communities when they need it. We also support travellers with a network of visitor centres and work with all levels of government to advocate for and support sustainable tourism and infrastructure projects that enhance the communities and the Sunshine Coast experience for all—including residents.
The mission of Sunshine Coast Tourism has long been to build a strong tourism economy on the Sunshine Coast consistent with the values of its residents. The core values of Sunshine Coast Tourism were created with residents in mind:
- A sense of curiosity – intellectually and emotionally.
- Respect for all – a desire for all to co-exist here.
- A love for where we work and play.
- Respect for the land and its history – ecologically conscious and strive toward sustainability.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges along the way, and we learned some valuable lessons. We have been reminded daily of what is truly important. The health, safety and longevity of the ecosystem, our communities, families and friends must always come first.
Where we’re going
After years of successful marketing campaigns that were carefully crafted to align with the values of residents, COVID-19 has suddenly led to the travellers in our province becoming much more aware of the Sunshine Coast. With many other complex factors at play that are contributing to an upswing in visitor growth, we want to begin a collective discussion about where we as residents would like to see tourism go.
We understand that not everyone is familiar with how the tourism industry contributes positively to the local lifestyle and economy. This includes employment, economic diversification, cultural preservation, and environmental protection.
- Tourism is historically the largest employer of youth in BC – more than 30%. (Source: Destination BC)
- About 22% of restaurant revenues in BC come from travellers who help keep your favourites dining spots open, and probably more in some of our communities on the Coast. (Source: BC Statistics)
- Tourism increases awareness and appreciation of Indigenous culture and heritage. (Source: Indigneous Tourism BC)
- Things we enjoy would not be as viable without the tourism engine: museums, galleries, events, transportation, trails, marinas and more. (Source: Destination BC)
We are also aware that tourism can cause challenges for those who call a destination their home. This can include busier ferries, longer waits at restaurants, and harm to our ecosystems.
- We’ve heard concerns expressed about too many people coming in the summer and not enough in the rest of the year, too little investment in infrastructure, community traffic bottlenecks, affordable housing, garbage and illegal fires.
Key Dates & Link to Registration
Executive Director, Sunshine Coast Tourism email@example.com
If you want to be involved in future resident conversations, please subscribe to our Resident Conversations list.
Resident Conversations – How to Participate
To ensure continued transparency and to continue an open dialogue with those who live on the Sunshine Coast, we hope to gather the input of residents on potential solutions to common challenges and continue to communicate the actions that we will be taking to address them. The goal of these resident conversations is an increased understanding between the tourism industry, residents, and future visitors, and a plan for ensuring tourism is sustainable and contributes positively to the livability of the Sunshine Coast.
Potential Discussion Topics
- A brief overview of tourism on the Sunshine Coast
- What positive benefits do you receive from tourism on the Sunshine Coast?
- What challenges do visitors bring with them and how does this impact your quality of life?
- What ideas do you have for ensuring tourism is sustainable and contributes to the livability of the Sunshine Coast?
- What else can Sunshine Coast Tourism do to help shape tourism for the future?
- What can residents do to help shape tourism for the future?
- How should Sunshine Coast Tourism continue to engage and communicate with residents in the future?
Whether you can or can’t attend a session, your feedback is vital to the direction of tourism in your community. Make sure your voice is heard by filling out this seven-minute survey here:
Join a Live Conversation via ZOOM
Can I attend an in-person event?
- At this time, we are starting with virtual sessions, but hope to have in-person sessions in the future.
We will be providing a Zoom virtual meeting link to registered attendees. You can choose a session to join and register HERE.
Why is tourism important?
- Tourism can play an important role in generating economic benefits, improving the quality of life for residents and building better societies. Done well, tourism contributes to job creation, infrastructure development, cultural information/education exchange with both residents and visitors to the region and more.
For more, watch this great 3-minute video from the World Travel & Tourism Council: click here.
What kind of visitors does Sunshine Coast Tourism attract?
- Though there are many types of visitors who decide to visit this part of the province, Sunshine Coast Tourism strives to attract respectful visitors who desire to understand the area’s laid-back lifestyle in a sustainable way.
- Visiting friends and family and those coming to the Coast for business, also make up a significant part of visitors.
How does Sunshine Coast Tourism reduce crowding from tourism in the summer?
Sunshine Coast Tourism works to get more people to travel in the fall, winter and spring when businesses are needing more visitors to keep their doors open and staff employed. We call this “dispersion” – to shift tourism growth into months where businesses are less busy and experiences such as ferries and park trails are less in demand from residents.
How is Sunshine Coast Tourism funded?
Sunshine Coast Tourism is primarily funded through a 2% tax that visitors pay on their accommodations stays (like at hotels and motels) called the MRDT. Other funding sources include local governments, contract fees for the management of visitor centres, Destination BC co-op funding and federal summer job grants.
What is Sunshine Coast Tourism doing about the challenges around Short Term Rentals?
Short Term Rental policies are within the jurisdiction of each local municipality. We believe that there is a need for balanced, fact-based decision-making that looks at both the positive contributions and the challenges that come with Short Term Rentals. We respect the decisions made by each First Nation and local government.
How is Sunshine Coast Tourism working to improve ferry service to the Coast?
The Executive Director of Sunshine Coast Tourism sits on the Northern Sunshine Coast and Southern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committees. That way, we hear about concerns with ferry service and participate in working to improve the ferry service for everyone travelling to and within the Sunshine Coast.