The Wilderness Tourism Association of British Columbia (WTABC) was born out of the need for an organization focused on land use issues faced by nature-based tourism operators. With roots in what was once the Wilderness Tourism Council, a group that represented approximately 850 nature based businesses during the 1980’s, the organization eventually blossomed into the Council for Tourism Associations (COTA) in 1993. After a Tourism Land Use Symposium in Vancouver in 1999, industry stakeholders aspired to provide nature-based tourism operators with a stronger voice in dealing with issues specific to their sector of the industry (specifically forestry and land tenure issues). With support and cooperation from COTA, the WTABC evolved.
Today, the WTABC works to improve communications between tourism operators, governments and other industry sectors regarding wilderness conservation and access to wilderness tourism opportunities. On a day-to-day basis, the WTABC consults with government and non-government organizations, as well as other industry sectors to tackle prevalent issues and stay informed on policies, trends and research. From these consultations, the WTABC addresses concerns and puts forward recommendations for best practices, and has helped members across the province with individual and collective interests, needs and challenges. In addition to the issues of land tenure and forestry, the WTABC also helps operators with land use conflicts, marine use planning, park accessibility, taxation and the preservation of wildlife and habitats.
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 WTABC organization is based on a stakeholders model. Stakeholders include businesses, sector associations, Regional, City and Community DMOs, as well as industry associates such as industry suppliers and educational institutions.
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.