Sunshine Coast Tourism is working hard to support the sustainable development of the tourism industry in the Sunshine Coast & qathet region in alignment with the values of our residents. The tourism industry on the Sunshine Coast has experienced a lot of change in the last few years, and we are listening and engaging with residents on an ongoing basis to make sure we are moving in the right direction. We've created an ongoing survey for residents to share feedback, plus we hosted a series of conversations with residents who live on the Sunshine Coast. The input from the survey and sessions is informing our future plans, actions and activities. In 2023, you'll find us out and about at community events where we hope to engage with residents, and we are always open to learning from and listening to the community.
What we’ve been doing
The small and dedicated Sunshine Coast Tourism team works to responsibly grow awareness of the Sunshine Coast—from Langdale to Lund—through inspiring and engaging marketing that brings responsible visitors to local businesses and communities when they need it. We also support travellers with a network of visitor centres and work with all levels of government to advocate for and support sustainable tourism and infrastructure projects that enhance the communities and the Sunshine Coast experience for all—including residents.
The mission of Sunshine Coast Tourism has long been to build a strong tourism economy on the Sunshine Coast consistent with the values of its residents. The core values of Sunshine Coast Tourism were created with residents in mind:
- A sense of curiosity – intellectually and emotionally.
- Respect for all – a desire for all to co-exist here.
- A love for where we work and play.
- Respect for the land and its history – ecologically conscious and strive toward sustainability.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges along the way, and we learned some valuable lessons. We have been reminded daily of what is truly important. The health, safety, and longevity of the ecosystem, our communities, families, and friends must always come first.
Where we’re going
As the resident population grows, so has tourism, and with more people means the need for more careful planning and management of tourism. With many complex factors at play that are contributing to an upswing in visitor growth, we want to continue a collective discussion about how we as residents would like to see tourism evolve in the years to come.
We understand that not everyone is familiar with how the tourism industry contributes positively to the local lifestyle and economy. This includes employment, economic diversification, cultural preservation, and environmental protection.
- Tourism contributes more than $200M annually in direct and indirect spending on the Sunshine Coast.
- Tourism is historically the largest employer of youth in BC – more than 30%. (Source: Destination BC)
- About 22% of restaurant revenues in BC come from travellers who help keep your favourite dining spots open, and probably more in some of our communities on the Coast. (Source: BC Statistics)
- Tourism increases awareness and appreciation of Indigenous culture and heritage. (Source: Indigneous Tourism BC)
- Things we enjoy would not be as viable without the tourism engine: museums, galleries, events, transportation, trails, marinas and more. (Source: Destination BC)
We are also aware that tourism can cause challenges for those who call a destination their home. This can include busier ferries, longer waits at restaurants, and harm to our ecosystems.
- We’ve heard concerns expressed about too many people coming in the summer and not enough in the rest of the year, too little investment in infrastructure, community traffic bottlenecks, affordable housing, water usage, garbage, and illegal fires.
- We've heard concerns about tourism impacting Indigenous Rights and Titles, such as hunting and fishing rights.
- We've heard concerns about specific locations on the Sunshine Coast being overly impacted.
Share the Shine
With miles of stunning beaches, chilled-out coastal communities, towering mountain peaks, and spectacular scenery at every turn, we want to ensure this place retains its natural splendour. The dedicated team at Sunshine Coast Tourism is committed to a vision of sustainable tourism that aligns with the deeply held values of locals while sharing our stories, favourite places, and coastal hospitality with those who dream of visiting. To succeed, we need the help of proactive residents like yourself to Share the Shine!
This summer, you’ll see the Sunshine Coast Tourism team at various community events like Powell River’s Blackberry Festival, Sechelt’s Show n’ Shine and other local events, handing out refreshing lemonade and fun swag. It’s the team’s way of saying thanks for Sharing the Shine with guests, and it’s an enjoyable opportunity for us to interact with and share what a healthy tourism industry brings to local communities.
At its core, Sharing the Shine is about understanding and empathy. Locals can be open-minded with visitors who look forward all year to coming here. Sunshine Coast Tourism works to educate visitors before they even arrive about the values locals are passionate about—respect for everyone and every living thing, including the land and waters.