Tourism Opportunity Studies

What is a Tourism Opportunity Study *?

A Tourism Opportunity Study (TOS) is an information tool that can be used to identify, develop and promote appropriate, sustainable tourism development opportunities around the province. The studies are useful tools for business people, governments and local communities. For any particular study area (typically a forest district), a TOS contains the following information:

  • a set of maps showing a ‘snapshot’ of the area’s current tourism industry and which resources they are using;

  • maps and text analyzing what kinds of tourism activities could be conducted in areas that are not currently being used in tourism operations;

  • a short summary of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT Analysis) facing the development of designated tourism products in the area as a whole; and

  • a concise overview of the best opportunities for development for each of several designated communities within the study area (Community Tourism Development Profiles)

Local Leadership

Project oversight and accountability are chiefly the responsibility of a local steering committee, whose local members ensure the work reflects community values. Government agencies advise on technical aspects of the study, to ensure that the study produces results that can be compared to all other study areas in the province and maintains provincial standards.

The steering committee may include some or all of the following parties:

  • local economic development agencies

  • local First Nations

  • the federal government, where the study involves federal resources tourism and recreation sectors, and

  • provincial government agencies with a link to issues affecting tourism development in the study area.

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis is a systematic evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats affecting tourism development in each study area in order to identify the most promising tourism development opportunities at a regional and community level. The SWOT Analysis is fundamental to providing communities with a direction for tourism development. The SWOT Analysis both depends on, and is informed by, local input through the steering committee.

The SWOT analysis will suggest, in broad terms, how to:

  • build on regional and community strengths

  • overcome weaknesses that currently constrain tourism development

  • approach tourism development to minimize the potential impact of threats, and;

  • make the most of available opportunities.

Community Tourism Development Profile

The Community Profiles will:

  • identify the most promising opportunities for each community, and;
  • suggest how the communities could develop and benefit from these opportunities.

Information from outside the study area such as access nodes and adjacent tourism attractions are also included in this analysis. The Community Profile suggests next steps for communities interested in developing their tourism opportunities, but it is not intended to be a comprehensive or definitive plan.

What’s Happens After the TOS?

Once the TOS is complete, it can be used by communities and entrepreneurs as a tool for furthering tourism development. In some cases, the TOS may contain sufficient information for undertaking immediate tourism development activities. In other cases, additional detailed economic feasibility studies may be required to provide more in-depth analysis and planning around specific tourism themes, or complex, multi-use developments.

* The Tourism Opportunity Study program has now concluded.

To view completed Tourism Opportunity Studies please click here.

For information on completed TOS's contact:

Robert Gowan
Land Information Specialist
Corporate Information Services
(250) 387- 1844

For information on tourism opportunities and tourism development:

Andrew Little
Manager, Tourism
Ministry of Small Business and Economic Development
(250) 952-0169