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Sustainable Tourism on Salt Spring Island

By Huixuan OuYang & Michelle Liu

Tourism has become a key industry in Salt Spring Island. Tourism industry has comprehensive benefits: it can boots economy and puch the advancement of society through stimulation consumption and creating jobs. However, if tourism industries grow in a sustainable way, it can cause numerous negative impacts on Salt Spring Island. Thus, sustainable tourism is a necessary and useful pattern for Salt Spring Island.

The seasonality and inconvenient transportation are the major challenges on the island, for seasonality will cause unstable revenue and under-or unemployment issues. For example, the hotels, restaurants, and retails need to lay off their employees during off-seasons. The hotels, restaurants, and retails also will lose their revenue during off-seasons, for not many visitors come for those months. Moreover, seasonality will affect residents’ quality of life; the inconvenient transportation will not only influence the local’s daily life, but also make tourists reduce their interesting in travelling to Salt Spring Island. To reduce seasonality in this island is an ambitious goal. In order to be a sustainable island, there is a need to tackle seasonality.

Tourism is about traveling, without traveling, people cannot go to anywhere. In other words, transportation is vital in tourism development, and accessibility can make or break a destination (Sorupla, 2005). Although Salt Spring Island is the largest island among the South Gulf Island, its transportation is not exceeding convenient in two aspects; one is the lack of frequency of the B.C Ferries that connects Salt Spring Island to other islands; second is the lack of frequency of the public transportation on the island.

There are three innovative approaches that may be useful for the region to consider. The first one is to build greenways and build bicycle rental and return stations. Greenways generate a new idea for developing tourism, especially the sustainable tourism. The greenway in Guangdong province, China, is a good example for promoting sustainable tourism. Greenways do not mean offering a safe and health way for people, but also connects the attractions, national parks, village, and commercial areas. Greenways have a great impact on the economic. There are ten provincial greenways in Guangdong province; those greenways connect most of the attractions, stores, village inn, and leisure farms. They can create more than three hundred thousand jobs, and stimulate social consumption to 45 billion RMB. Zengcheng city set up an example; it received 2.7 million tourists in 2007, however, in 2010, the number of tourists increased to 16.9 million. It gained also more than 11.89 million RMB, which increased 128.6%; tourism income was up to 2.5 billion RMB, which increased 151.48%; and farmers’ individual income went up to 9281 RMB, which increased 17.18% in 2010. A lot of relays are installed along the greenways. People can use the automatic system to rent or return bicycles on the relays. Moreover, those relays are close to public transportation, such as metro and bus station. This type of tourism has less negative impact to the environment because it can reduce the greenhouse gas, and promote active transportation.

Another innovative approach is creating a theme for the event. Although Salt Spring Island has many events in different seasons, these events do not enroll too many residents and mainly are about arts and farms. What’s more, most of the events just enroll some residents to participant into the events, which cannot have broad effects. Window of the world, a theme park in Shenzhen, China, have many creative events during different seasons and have done a very good job on marketing. Tourists know exactly what they can gain from this place, and know what’s different from the window of the world to other places.

`The last innovative approach is wellness tourism. Wellness tourism is that the main motivation for people go on trios is to preserve or promote their health. Usually, they require entire service package, which include physical fitness/ beauty care, healthy/ nutrition/ diet, relaxation/ meditation and mental activity/ education. The existing wellness tourism in Switzerland has a significant market and demand. In addition, many Asia countries are aware of the wellness tourism can bring many benefits to the their counties and start to develop and promote it such as Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnamese.

In brief, this paper describes the challenges, which are seasonality and the inconvenience of transportation; it addresses the measures that are using in Salt Spring Island; and shows three innovative approach that may be useful for the region to consider, which are build greenways and automatic rental and return bicycle system, create a theme for an event, and it develop the wellness tourism.


B.C Ferries schedules. Retrieved from October 30th, 2012, from

Car Stops on Salt Spring Island. Retrieved from October 30th, 2012, from

Liuxin. (2012). The most highest greenway in Guangzhou. Retrieved from October 31st, 2012, from -10/05/content_1931213.htm

People’s Government of Guangdong Province. (2012). Retrieved from October 31st, 2012, from

Zhu zhejun. (2010). Make the greenways into eco-economic industry. Retrieved from October 31st, 2012, from

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