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About the Wilderness Tourism Association


History

The Wilderness Tourism Association of BC (WTABC) was born out of a need to have an organization that would be focused on land use issues faced by nature based tourism operators. It has its roots in a previous organization called the "Wilderness Tourism Council" a group that represented approximately 850 nature based businesses during the 1980's. The council eventually blossomed into the Council for Tourism Associations (COTA) in 1993.

In 1999, after a Tourism Land Use Symposium in Vancouver, industry stakeholders wanted to create an organization that would again give nature based tourism operators a stronger voice in dealing with issues specific to their sector of the tourism industry (specifically forestry and land tenure issues). With support and cooperation from COTA, the WTABC was born. Today, the WTABC works to improve communications between tourism operators, governments and other industry sectors with respect to wilderness conservation and access to wilderness tourism opportunities. On a day-to-day basis, the WTABC consults with a wide variety of government and non-government organizations, and other industry sectors to keep abreast of issues, policies, trends and research, and puts forward our concerns and recommendations. The organization has helped members across BC with individual and collective interests, needs and issues. In addition to the issues of land tenure and forestry, the WTABC also helps operators with land use conflicts, marine use planning, making park use accessible, taxation and preserving wildlife and habitats. 

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Mission

Mission Statement: The Wilderness Tourism Association of British Columbia will work to ensure a sustainable future for BC's wilderness tourism industry through leadership, advocacy and stewardship.  

The Wilderness Tourism Association of BC exists to ensure the ongoing viability of our industry through the protection of the wilderness tourism land base.

The WTABC believes that wilderness tourism is a viable and sustainable economic enterprise, and that BC's wilderness tourism operators must have a strong voice in determining how the lands and waters upon which they depend are planned and developed.

To ensure that the wilderness tourism industry's requirements are recognized and incorporated in land use and marine use decisions, the WTABC is undertaking organizing, advocacy, and education to profile the contribution of our industry to the provincial economy.

The Wilderness Tourism Association is managed by an elected Board of Directors.

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Members

The WTABC organization is based on a stakeholders. Stakeholders include businesses, sector associations, Regional, City and Community DMOs, as well as industry associates such as industry suppliers and educational institutions. Stakeholders span all aspects of wilderness or nature based tourism, and all regions of the province.  Current sector associations involved in the WTABC include: Backcountry Lodges of BC Association, BC Fishing Resorts & Outfitters Association, BC Guest Ranchers Association, BC River Outfitters Association, Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC, Guide Outfitters Association of BC, Helicat Canada and Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC. Many business stakeholders have membership in more than one sector association as well as WTABC. Each voting stakeholder is entitled to one vote at the AGM and general meetings of the organization/society. For more information on becoming a voting stakeholder please see our Membership page.

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Board of Directors

Jim DeHart - BC River Outfitters Association

Scott Ellis - Guide Outfitters Association of BC

Brian Gunn - Strathcona Park Lodge

Brad Harrison - Backcountry Lodges of BC Association

David Pinel - West Coast Expeditions

Breanne Quesnel - Spirit of the West Adventures

Kevin Smith - Maple Leaf Adventures

Ian Tomm - Helicat Canada

Andre Kuerbis - BC Fishing Resorts and Outfitters Association

 

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The Executive

President: Jim DeHart - BC River Outfitters Association

Vice-President: Brad Harrison - Backcountry Lodges of BC Association

Secretary: Kevin Smith - Maple Leaf Adventures

Treasurer: Scott Ellis - Guide Outfitters Association of BC

Past President: Brian Gunn  - Strathcona Park Lodge

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Staff

Executive Director: Scott Benton

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Constitution and Bylaws


Read/Print the WTA Constitution and Bylaws - PDF Format; File Size 248KB

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Code of Ethics for BC's Wilderness Tour Operators

In the spirit of environmental stewardship, wilderness tourism operators are adopting practices that will ensure the sustainability of the industry and the natural environment on which wilderness tourism depends.

1 Promote Wilderness Appreciation and Enjoyment

  • Provide experiences that foster enjoyment, appreciation, and sensitive use of wilderness.

2 Provide Quality Guest Experiences

  • Meet or exceed customer expectations

3 Conserve Natural and Cultural Resources

  • Contribute to the ongoing integrity of valued natural resources and cultural places.

4 Environmentally Sustainable Practices

  • Use the best available practices for sustainable tourism, development and operation.

5 Relationships with Local Communities, Businesses and Governments

  • Provide ongoing socio-economic benefit for local, regional and host communities.

6 Respect Cultural Values

  • Understand local traditions and practices and present authentic cultural values.

7 Responsible Marketing

  • Provide accurate information that leads to realistic expectations.

8 Sustainable Wilderness Tourism

    • Knowledgeably advocate for wilderness tourism that is sustainable; environmentally, socially and economically.

The comprehensive document Code of Conduct for BC's Wilderness Tourism Operators which outlines the guidelines qualified members will practice is available here for display and printing.

Read/Print the WTA Code of Conduct - PDF Format; 5 Pages; File Size 208KB

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