Monday, February 1, 2010

Rural Tourism Conference 2010

Tourism is being touted as one of the economic vehicles to help rural communities diversify. I am not opposed to the idea, I am just no convinced that it is a economic activity that can be core to a community. The communities that are tourism focused (Whistler, Tofino, Pemberton) tend to be have a much larger divide between rich and poor.

In BC Thompson Rivers University and Vancouver Island University are putting a lot of energy into rural tourism, and I am very happy to see this. There is an interesting blog to read from Nicole Vaugeois, the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development at Vancouver Island University.

Conferences are all good and well, but will there be real results that will help communities improve their tourism sector? However you slice it, one of the big problems many rural communities have in BC is that they are not close enough for people to want to go there. Fort St James has some interesting and beautiful wilderness around it, but it is a long way off of the beaten path.

British Columbia’s 1st Conference on Rural Tourism, April 6-8th, 2010 is being hosted by Thompson Rivers University School of Tourism and partner organizations. The conference will be held in British Columbia’s stunning rural North Shuswap, Talking Rock Resort and Quaaout Lodge.

Tourism experiences can contribute to the livelihood and economic diversity of rural communities and local residents. The conference is intended to bring together key players and community members to address the challenges associated with selecting and building tourism experiences. Environmental and social sustainability are equally valuable to tourism experiences in rural communities and will be a vital component of the conference.

The conference is directly related to the work underway by the REDTREE Project and the ongoing work of the Tourism Research Innovation Project (TRIP).

We encourage those who operate, manage, support, and study tourism in rural areas to attend the conference. The conference will provide opportunities for these individuals to share knowledge, insights, develop their skills and build partnerships for rural tourism product development and implementation. The knowledge and experience acquired at the conference is intended to assist rural communities in achieving economic diversification through rural tourism.

The conference will include interactive discussions, presentations, case studies, and hands on mobile workshops that will allow attendees to return to their communities with practical and valuable information.

The conference is made possible primarily through funding from Western Economic Development Canada’s Community Economic Development Initiative.

To learn more, send email to

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