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Sour grapes: Mitigating the risk of overtourism in British Columbia’s eno-tourism

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The economic health of regions dependent on tourism are threatened by overtourism. Through the use of sustainable development practices, this risk can be mitigated. This study examines the sustainability of the Okanagan Valley, the dominant wine tourism destination in British Columbia. Using case studies, the Okanagan is compared with wine tourism regions around the world. This study finds that there is a relatively low amount of sustainability in the Okanagan relative to other wine regions. Following this, this study finds that the Okanagan’s high degree of seasonality, lack of training opportunities, and lack of standardized practices have the greatest potential for improvement. Three policies are proposed and analyzed to address these shortcomings: an expansion of educational programs, sustainability standards, and off-season event grants. As a result of this analysis, a policy package containing elements of all three policy proposals is recommended.
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