Tourism is a major part of the provincial economy. During
2000, 22 million overnight visitors spent $9.5 billion traveling
in the province. Tourism is B.C.'s largest land-based employer,
(130,000 full time direct jobs) and growing by four to five
Wilderness tourism is the fastest growing segment of the
tourism industry, achieving a nine to ten percent annual growth
rate. In 1999, B.C.'s wilderness tourism sector generated
$1 billion in direct revenues and created 15,000 full-time
more information about the importance of wilderness tourism
Ecotourism is turning out to be an important economic driver
for coastal communities. Whale watching draws thousands of
visitors annually to the B.C. coast where over 11 communities
are actively involved in whale watching. On Vancouver Island,
Tofino and Telegraph Cove are major centres for whale watching.
The picturesque community of Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver
Island is thriving because of whale watching. Six new businesses,
including four souvenir shops, one restaurant and one motel
with 100 rooms have been built to accommodate whale watchers.
On the west coast of Vancouver Island, at Tofino, an estimated
20 new businesses in the past 20 years were partly or primarily
due to whale watching.