Angela Nagy, president and CEO of Greenstep Solutions, a multi-faceted sustainable services company based in Kelowna. Photo: Barry Gerding/Black Press

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

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

(Big White Ski Resort/Contributed)
Big White’s big clean-up: Large turnout for post-melt mountain tidy

More than 165 people showed up to help gather the litter left behind from the winter season

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)
Delays expected on Lakeshore Road this week

Northbound traffic on Lakeshore between Richter and Barrera will be detoured for paving

David Larsen, left, and co-host Tony Peyton. (K96.3/Twitter)
Popular Kelowna radio host dies after battle with cancer

David Larsen was half of the longtime Kelowna morning-show duo David and Tony

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read