Website launches aggressive push for marine tourism

  • May. 19, 2015 4:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii Observer The B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association has developed a website it hopes will help Haida Gwaii and other coastal communities boost their economies this summer. The website, AHOY BC, will be devoted to attracting marine tourists to B.C. coastal waters.  Launched April 15, the website is designed to lure boating enthusiasts with vivid photos, suggested routes and interactive trip planning. Destination British Columbia, the crown corporation responsible for destination marketing, supported the birth of AHOY BC through the planning and building stages. Additional funds came from Island Coastal Economic Trust, Coast Sustainability Trust and Northern Development Initiatives Trust.The Observer reached out to local harbour authorities for their reaction to the potential tourism boom, but while Masset and Sandspit were unavailable for comment, both Port Clements and Queen Charlotte said it was the first they had heard about the new marketing initiative.Both harbour authorities welcome the new website.Each coastal region has its own section on the website where visitors can select marinas and communities to visit, find services and learn what each community has to offer.The marine tourism sector is a $200-million a year industry in B.C. The need to market the coast as a world-class boating destination has been recognized for many years. David Mailloux, chair of B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association, said he’s enthusiastic about the future of marine tourism for coastal communities with this project.”The tourist in a boat has different needs than a tourist in a car. The launch of AHOY BC website will make British Columbia a world leader. No other place recognizes the marine tourism market like we do and no other place can offer our mix of amenities and wild nature.”The website will include guides on environmental stewardship in addition to information on safe boating, fishing, B.C. Marine Parks and Aboriginal cultural tourism. “The site opens up the opportunity to explore new places,” Mr. Mailloux said. “But the biggest lure will be to people who have never been here. Wait until the world sees what we have to offer.”All Haida Gwaii communities and harbours will be listed on the website with the intention of reaching every sector of the local economies. AHOY BC has worked closely with Go Haida Gwaii to gather information on each community.”I look forward to seeing the website, this will be a boost for marine tourism for Haida Gwaii,” Cameron Bell, Economic Development Officer of MEIDS said. Northern Development Initiative Trust has granted $20,000 to the B.C. Ocean Boating Tourism Association to help with AHOY BC.

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