8.2 Heritage Tourism
As primary destinations for domestic and international travellers, national parks and historic sites are important elements of Canada’s tourism industry.
The World Tourism Organization defines heritage tourism as “an immersion in the natural history, human heritage, arts, philosophy and institutions of a region or country.” For the purposes of the national parks, this definition had been expanded to include environmental stewardship.
What does this mean for Mount Revelstoke, Glacier and Rogers Pass? These are places where people find a range of opportunities to enjoy themselves and to understand and participate in the preservation of natural, cultural and scenic features. These experiences are an important foundation for a heritage tourism industry in the Columbia Mountains.
What does this mean for the tourism sector? A tourism industry that respects the integrity of the natural environment and its importance to long-term economic viability will remain competitive in a marketplace that demands quality and authenticity. Parks Canada will work with area tourism operators to prepare a heritage tourism strategy. The strategy will help address human use issues by, among other initiatives, promoting appropriate experiences at the right places and the right times.
Mount Revelstoke and Glacier are known for their 3,000 m mountains, steep narrow valleys,
glaciers, deep snow, avalanches, old-growth rainforests, alpine meadows, and diverse
Columbia Mountains wildlife. Rogers Pass National Historic Site tells the story of building
a railway and a nation with a transcontinental railway through the Selkirk Mountains.
Glacier National Park is also recognized as the birthplace of North American
mountaineering and Mount Revelstoke National Park was the site of some of Canada's
earliest ski jumping and skiing.
Mount Revelstoke, Glacier and Rogers Pass offer discovery learning, adventure and leisure
opportunities of the highest quality, making them a frequent stop along the Calgary/Banff
- Okanagan/Vancouver corridor and a highlight of any visit to the mountains of western
These protected areas fill a specific market niche by providing opportunities to experience a
rustic and primitive wildland area, and an authentic slice of Canadian mountain and
transportation history. Opportunities for wilderness experiences complement recreational
opportunities in the region. Winter snow accumulations create premier backcountry skiing
opportunities in the parks and surrounding area and the activity increases in popularity
each year. The close proximity of the communities of Golden and Revelstoke enables visitors
to enjoy a wide range of experiences from rustic and primitive wilderness in the national
parks, to highly developed recreational sites and services outside the parks.
8.2.1 A Code of Ethics for Sustainable Tourism
Without appropriate environmental practices to protect the integrity of the natural environment, heritage tourism cannot survive. Parks Canada will encourage the local tourism industry to adopt a code of ethics and guidelines for sustainable tourism (1996) based on a code used by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy. This will ensure everyone places the same high value on sustainable tourism practices and will encourage the tourism industry and its partners to commit to constant improvement in stewardship, including the management of waste, water and energy.
8.2.2 Strategic Goals
Visitors and residents are aware they are in a national park or national historic site.
A well informed, sustainable tourism industry respects the ecological and social
values of the parks and the historic site.
Canadians and their international guests enjoy high quality, authentic learningand travel experiences.
First Nations heritage tourism initiatives are presented in information about the
parks and the historic site.
- To implement a Heritage Tourism Strategy with Revelstoke and Golden that promotes sustainable tourism, environmental stewardship and appropriate visitor experiences.
- To help industry employees share an understanding of the area’s natural and cultural heritage with visitors.
8.2.4 Key Actions
- Work with tourism businesses, First Nations, the cooperating association, the communities of Golden and Revelstoke and other groups to develop a heritage tourism strategy.
- Recognize businesses that incorporate heritage tourism principles, environmental stewardship initiatives and a code of ethics for sustainable tourism.
- Encourage opportunities, products and services that are consistent with heritage and environmental protection.
- Work with the tourism industry to foster realistic expectations on the part of visitors.
- Work with industry employees to create an understanding of the parks’ natural and cultural heritage by improving orientation, training and accreditation programs.
- Participate in major regional tourism initiatives such as the International Year of Fresh Water.
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