Press Release: North Coast-Haida Gwaii marine tourism projects will boost local economy

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For immediate release

March 31, 2015

Favourable winds are blowing for marine tourism along B.C.’s North Coast this year as two projects get underway that will help diversify the local economy.

A major boat launch upgrade in Queen Charlotte and a marine ocean boating tourism marketing initiative will provide new incentives and infrastructure for boating and sailing enthusiasts keen on exploring B.C.’s world-class Inside Passage, North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

Northern Development has approved $270,000 in grant funding to support both projects:
• $250,000 for the Village of Queen Charlotte’s boat launch upgrade
• $20,000 for B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association marine tourism marketing plan

The boat launch upgrade in Queen Charlotte ensures residents and visitors to Haida Gwaii can enjoy a safe and accessible marine entry-point to the islands’ gateway community.
The marine tourism marketing plan is designed to promote B.C. coastal waters as a world-class destination.

The plan includes a website to lure visitors and provide vacation planning services, including online reservations, boating routes, theme itineraries, safe sailing information, on-shore amenities, and activities guides and environmental best practices.

Northern Development’s grant for the boat launch project was approved through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, while the B.C. Ocean Boating marketing plan grant was approved through the Trust’s Marketing Initiatives program.


Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –

“Haida Gwaii has been chosen as one of National Geographic’s 20 Best Trips in 2015. This stunning part of B.C. is the travel destination for people from around the world, and we are pleased that Northern Development is providing funding for the Village of Queen Charlotte boat launch upgrade and related projects. Adding to the quality of the visitor experience encourages people to keep coming to this world-class tourism destination and helps ensure we keep B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing.”

Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State of Tourism and Small Business –
“Haida Gwaii’s enterprising small-business operators can showcase their world-class services and spectacular natural attractions to prospective visitors around the world via the new website. It provides a window of options – themed itineraries, reservations, boating and sailing information – to spark people’s imagination and add Haida Gwaii to their destination bucket list.”

Jennifer Rice, MLA, North Coast –
“Marine tourism marketing and infrastructure improvements are important to the diversification of the north coast and Haida Gwaii economies. Located in the emerald sea, Haida Gwaii and Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park are renowned gems that can be better showcased to boating tourists with improved marine facilities and marketing support. This funding not only supports economic development but also improves the quality of life for coastal communities who have a long-standing seafaring way of life.”

Nathan Cullen, Member of Parliament for Skeena Bulkley Valley –
“Haida Gwaii and the North Coast of B.C. are beautiful areas that need to be showcased to the world. Tourism is an important economic driver on Haida Gwaii, these two grants are a great way to increase tourist traffic and improve infrastructure for locals, while also diversifying the economy on the islands. The Northern Development Initiative Trust is an excellent resource for Northern B.C., I appreciate their work to create a strong and vibrant Northern economy.”

Greg Martin, Mayor, Village of Queen Charlotte –
”Haida Gwaii offers a spectacular marine environment with endless recreational opportunities. Every year countless visitors travel to our islands with their own boats and our boat ramp provides the only link between land and water for the entire southern half of Graham Island. The boat ramp improvements combined with the new marketing strategy will enhance and increase marine based recreation for residents and visitors.”

Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development –
“B.C.’s stunning North Coast and Haida Gwaii are world-class tourism destinations. These projects will make them more accessible for locals familiar with the area, and lure new visitors to the region, supporting local economic diversification.”

Michael McLaughlin, AHOY BC project manager –
“AHOY BC has given top priority to attracting more visitors to Haida Gwaii and the North Coast. These regions will become better known by boaters and their immense appeal will draw boaters. The creation of additional moorage capacity in Queen Charlotte is very timely”

Quick Facts
• Tourism B.C. statistics show the average tourist stopping in a community on a small boat spends $150 per person per day, and $300 per person per day on a large boat
• In 2013, approximately 10,818 tourists visited Haida Gwaii. The boat launch upgrade in Queen Charlotte will provide a safe entry-point for residents and visitors to access Skidegate Inlet, Gwaii Haanas National Park and the west coast
• The B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association surveyed 15 marina and harbor operators in the north coast-Haida Gwaii region, and all responded they would benefit from additional marine traffic
• Since 2005, Northern Development has approved $128 million to 1,702 economic development projects throughout central and northern B.C.

Joel McKay,
Director, Communications,
Northern Development Initiative Trust