The Invest in Iconics Strategy is a long-term strategy to responsibly increase tourism revenue to British Columbia through dispersion, using effective Place Branding and Destination Development to competitively differentiate BC on the world stage. This is a long-term strategy, and as such, has many different components.
Beginning in Fall 2019, Destination BC undertook the following discovery work to develop the strategy.
At the core of destination development work, are BC’s Destination Development plans. These 19 Destination Development planning area strategies form the foundation of on-the-ground destination enhancement work, and guide activities to support existing and future revenue potential for all parts of the province. These plans were developed between 2016-19 through a process of engagement with 1,776 of tourism industry stakeholders.
We are currently in the process of validating and confirming the final set of Iconic routes and place brands and will be sequencing the launch beginning late 2023.
These are working titles only and are not finalized.
The Invest in Iconics Strategy is focused on creating globally compelling brands for routes and places to elevate them to compete on the world stage. The development of these place brands will go hand-in-hand with Destination Development activities, to ensure that the emotional promise of our branding is delivered by on-the-ground experiences when visitors arrive and travel in BC. Place branding is about taking BC’s extraordinary routes and places and making them more famous and more globally compelling than they are now.
We have identified a small number of potential routes and places that, in total, cover the entire province. With consistent, collective investment in Place Branding and Destination Development over the next several years, each has the potential to compete on a global stage.
Through the Invest in Iconics Strategy, we will work in different ways to encourage travelers to visit more areas of the province, in more seasons. While branding is a critical component of the strategy, the new brands will only thrive and survive if they are supported by equally compelling on-the-ground experiences through our destination development activities. Destination Development is the process of improving the long-term competitiveness of tourism destinations in alignment with community needs. It is focused on enhancing existing experiences, and creating new experiences that elevate and deliver on the unique offerings of destinations across BC in ways that deliver on the brand promise of each Place Brand.
When Place Branding and Destination Development come together, we will achieve our goal of driving industry revenue growth and ensuring that visitor experiences deliver on the brand promise. Destination BC continues to work with communities across the six tourism regions to build on existing Destination Development strategies that pull together planning, policy, and capacity building efforts.
Even though Place Branding typically takes place first, Destination Development is a critically important part over the long run. It’s the activity that really brings the destination to life as the brand intended it too.
Integrated Place Branding and Destination Development has the potential to dramatically increase interest in and travel to destinations and enhance the in-destination experience for residents and visitors, and by doing so, deliver on the brand promise, exceed visitor expectations and create positive word of mouth, fueling future visitation.
Destination Development is necessary to ensure each Iconic can meet its potential for delivering on the brand promise and the geographic and seasonal dispersion goals, such as by creating things to do, encouraging investment in places to stay, making transportation easier and creating ways to better understand and appreciate local values.
Destination Development for the Invest in Iconics Strategy focuses more specifically on experience development and enhancement. It is the development of experiences that support and elevate the place brands. There are two primary distinctions.
Through the lens of the Invest in Iconics Strategy, moving forward, we want to work with Destination Development Advisory Groups to elevate and advance Destination Development priorities that support place making in their areas.
The Invest in Iconics team is working in partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, and Regional Destination Marketing Organizations to support existing Destination Development strategies that pull together planning, policy, and capacity building efforts. Our partnership with ITBC is of particular significance to this Strategy, as Indigenous culture, language, and stories are fundamental to its success. We are working closely with ITBC on the planning and implementation of this Strategy, to ensure all of our activities include, respect, and are more compelling because they are guided by Indigenous perspectives.
We are working with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport and other ministries to discuss other funding sources that may be used to help implement the Invest in Iconics Strategy and related destination development efforts.
For example, there may be resources in the future for supporting projects that elevate the Iconic routes and places in a similar way that Destination Development was identified as priority criteria for over $100 million in economic development funding from the federal and provincial government over the last few years.
This means that there is currently no funding reserved specifically to support this Strategy, other than from Destination BC’s annual budgets.
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