Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has successfully certified as a Biosphere Destination in recognition of its efforts to meet the 17 SDGs and 169 targets of the United Nations to build a quality destination, for locals and tourists, generating a more sustainable tourism development model.
Destinations and entities that are members of the Biosphere community are committed to continuous improvement guided by the objectives and principles set by the United Nations, which ensure economic, socio-cultural and environmental balance in the territory and generate a more responsible and sustainable tourism development model.
"Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has been dedicated to sustainable tourism for years," said Glenn Mandziuk, interim CEO of Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism, "Thanks to the dedicated and collaborative efforts of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism team, and the stakeholders involved and interested in their tourism industry, they are now recognized among the world leaders with this distinction as a Biosphere Certified Destination. It is a commitment to continue to grow our industry responsibly."
As one of the three main pillars of sustainability, the environment, ecosystems and land per se are vitally important to achieve the balance that ensures the survival and sustainable development of tourism models; and given the roots of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast people, these values have always been present in their community. Since the indigenous peoples, the locals of this destination have been ranching and farming, and modern tour operators have lived as stewards of the land for generations.
The region, which is also home to the Great Bear Rainforest, the protected home of the Spirit Bear, British Columbia's provincial mammal, is the second in North America to be recognized internationally as a Biosphere Certified Destination by the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI).
British Columbia is one of the world's leading jurisdictions in Biosphere Certified Destinations. Thompson Okanagan was the first destination to commit to this process and path to continuous improvement hand-in-hand with the RTI in North America, and the first to achieve its Biosphere Certified Destination badge in November 2017. Since then, it has been working with other regional communities such as Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and its tourism stakeholders, with the goal of expanding the reach of this initiative and its commitments to sustainability. And this has paid off! For the time being, the regions of British Columbia Kootenay Rockies, Northern British Columbia and Tourism Vancouver Island, which started this journey by making a joint commitment to the RTI on 22 April 2021, together with the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, are still in the process of obtaining recognition.
Becoming a Biosphere Certified Destination is a commitment to achieve a long-term balance between the economic, socio-cultural and environmental dimensions of the region. The designation will bring significant benefits to communities, the environment and the tourism sector.
"People around the world are looking for travel that is sustainable and offers real experiences," said Patricio Azcárate Díaz de Losada, Secretary General of the Responsible Tourism Institute. "The certification shows a local commitment to sustainability at Cariboo Chilcotin Coast that will be recognized throughout the region and the world."
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism will also create an industry-led committee to help the region work together on sustainability in a way that benefits communities, travelers and the industry, and will implement an engagement process so that its business fabric can also benefit from the tools, advantages and recognitions of Biosphere for Business certification.
"The Boundless Land has much to offer tourists from around the world, and it is our collective duty to ensure that what makes this place special will still be there for generations to come," said Andre Kuerbis, Chairman of the board of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association. "I encourage interested operators to participate in our new committee that will help guide sustainability efforts in the sector and maintain this certification for years to come."
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