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September Update
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B.C. Home  September Update - Budget 2005  Message from the Minister and Accountability Statement

Message from the Minister and
Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Olga Ilich.I am pleased to present the first service plan for the new Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, which reflects our vision to bring British Columbians together to build participation, celebrate excellence and increase the social and economic benefits of tourism, sport and the arts and support Government’s Five Great Goals.

With five years to go to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, now is the time to prepare. The tourism sector already generates $9 billion annually for our provincial economy. We have tremendous opportunities to invest now in tourism, sport and the arts so that the years leading up to 2010 and those that follow provide as much benefit as the Olympic and Paralympic Games themselves. Working across sectors and with our many partners, the prospects are strong to dramatically increase employment in the tourism sector and double the tourism sector by 2015.

Our role will be to enhance and expand resorts and other attractions that will draw visitors to many of our regions; prepare for an influx of new tourists; work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that British Columbians have the facilities they need to improve health and fitness levels by 2010; and invest in festivals and cultural events that celebrate British Columbians’ proud diversity and build our cultural economy.

With tourism, sport and the arts under one roof, we have an unparalleled opportunity to think long term about our vision for British Columbia and the unique attributes and assets that make this province a great place in which to live, visit and invest. We also have the ability to create greater synergies amongst the tourism, sport and arts sectors. Cultural tourists, for example, spend about 8.7 per cent more on trips than average visitors. There is untapped opportunity to work with First Nations to identify indigenous tourism opportunities to respond to a growing demand. Sport tourism is also a fast growing contributor to tourism, generating an estimated $368 million in British Columbia each year. There are many direct benefits from serving as host to world-class events such as the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2006, the North American Indigenous Games in 2008 and the World Police and Fire Games in 2009. These events do more than simply bring visitors to the province. Sport, culture and the arts are fundamental to the well being of British Columbians and the prosperity of our communities. Only by creating new synergies among business, communities and all levels of government, can we truly maximize the opportunities that are now before us.

British Columbia’s volunteer force is 1.4 million strong, and is the second largest in Canada. Their contribution improves the quality of life of British Columbians and it is this government’s commitment to recognize, support and build that force. In the next several years British Columbia will be host to more than 15 world events — more than ever we will be calling upon our dedicated volunteers to help welcome the world to our province.

The plan that follows reflects existing funding. It is only the beginning. The key to our success in the future is planning today. Ours is a large and an exciting mandate, and will require new and innovative ideas, new partnerships, new funding support, increased investment in infrastructure, and close coordination with other ministries and agencies. The remainder of the 2005/06 fiscal year will allow the ministry to work with its stakeholders to identify long term opportunities, the mechanisms and relationships and resources that need to be in place to take full advantage of those prospects. The next decade will be an exciting one for tourism, sport and the arts as we chart a course that will lead us towards our goal of doubling the tourism industry by 2015. Next year, the 2006/07 Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts Service Plan will reveal, in a much more specific way, how we intend to achieve that goal.

The Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update, September 2005 was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of August 31, 2005 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.


Honourable Olga Ilich
Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts

August 31, 2005

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