Our first Credible Conversations forum was held May 29th in Vancouver. Over 100 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, First Nations representatives and BC residents came together to discuss the economic risks of pipeline expansion and explore how to build a more diversified economy on the west coast.
*These are rough notes from the break-out sessions and are not meant to convey the opinions of all CRED members, or even all participants in the break-out group.
What are the impacts of new pipelines on the tourism and hospitality industry?
Costs / risks:
Risks of increased tanker traffic
- Marine life impacts
- Visual pollution
- Impact on kayaking and canoe tours
- Impact on the brand of Vancouver
Risks of an oil spill along the coast
- Could decimate fishing and coastal tourism
- Decrease in fish stocks can be irreversible – example of Saskatchewan vs Alberta management of recreational fishing and fish stocks
- Would hurt BC’s reputation as a pristine visitor destination
- Impact on cruise ship traffic
- Increased funding for arts and cultural activities from resource company marketing budgets
- Potential to develop industrial tourism around the Westridge Marine Terminal
- With the new pipelines, what does a business as usual scenario (i.e. increased tankers, no spills) look like?
- What is the cumulative risk of small spills over time?
- How will increased tankers impact salmon, orcas and other marine life?
- Need common industry definitions of small, medium, large sized spills that are used consistently
- Can tiers of impact be created in advance so that it’s clear what’s happening in the case of a spill and what the response should be?
- Do funds need to be set aside for a big marking campaign promoting Vancouver as a destination in the case of a spill?
- In the case of a spill, what would be recoverable and what would be the recovery time? (i.e. on small businesses)
- What is the tourism industry’s exposure to transportation risk, considering the methods of transportation visitors use to get to the area?
What are the practical opportunities to support a more diversified economy?
First Nations-led tourism:
- Popular with visitors looking to learn about indigenous culture
- Can promote economic justice and increase tourism revenues at the same time
- Opportunity for First Nations to reconnect with their culture
- Eg Meares Island tree walk in Tofino, managed by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
Promote nature-based tourism in an urban setting:
- Very few places in the world have the same juxtaposition as BC’s south coast
- Half of the province’s tourism jobs are in the Lower Mainland
- In the future, job shortages in tourism are predicted
- Can learn from others: i.e. New Zealand’s eco tourism-centered strategy that involves many stakeholders from local governments to Maori groups
Make sure not to become overly reliant on tourism – places like Tofino, for example, are already very dependent and wouldn’t benefit from a stronger reliance on just one industry for their economic growth