Editor: Recently a First Nations representative vehemently opposed the exploration of oil and construction of a pipeline. He added: “It will kill B.C.’s $7 billion tourist industry.”
Having worked for over 40 years in the travel industry, I had to do a double take. How could I have been so misguided?
From my humble perch, I have seen tourists buy a loud shirt in Honolulu and enjoy feeling sand between their toes. In Egypt most people like to have their picture taken, riding a camel in front of the pyramids. In Paris it’s the Eiffel Tower and croissants for breakfast every morning.
Visitors to Western Canada, unless they specifically come for the Stanley Cup, a convention or the Calgary Stampede, rent a motorhome in Calgary and drive through our glorious Rockies to Vancouver. Depending on the amount of time available the ride could include Drumheller, Buffalo-Jump-Head-Smashed-In, Prince Rupert and Port Hardy. It also works well in reverse.
But even if they do things differently, there is always driving involved. Lots of it. That includes those visitors from Carolina who overnight in motels, the sports fishermen who look for salmon in Campbell River or the Seattle skier who weekends in Whistler. They have to drive, ride or fly.
Worldwide we have now raised a generation of people who were told that using gas is a sin and will destroy the planet. Some of this was bound to stick. Why are we surprised that our B.C. tourism industry is now tanking? Why would digging a trench to get oil to market affect tourism as we know it?
With all due respect, all those speaking on behalf of First Nations or Tourism BC may wish to take a reality check. Find out what my tourists do or have done while here.
Besides, thanks to Vivian Krause, most of us now know how much charity money has gone to First Nations and the environment industry to oppose B.C.’s development of natural resources. (Have you noticed that only B.C. tanker traffic invites disaster? Alaska to Seattle: no problem. Other coasts: no problem. Even a pipeline to Eastern Canada to export products to Europe: no problem.
It should be fairly obvious why these monies are made available. Recipients, therefore, no longer project the clean image and devotion to Mother Nature their sponsors had hoped to take advantage of.
Any time we accept that oil consumption equals global warming, we better question the source of that information.