The main population centres of the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District are Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Revelstoke and Golden BC which borders the Kootenays. The Regional District was incorporated in 1965 and the local Shuswap economy relies mainly on forestry and tourism. Tourism is steadily increasing as a source of the local economy while Shuswap forestry and related occupations have declined recently. The Shuswap's proximity to the Trans Canada Highway No. 1 is a significant factor in the area's tourism attraction due to excellent travel connections with much of British Columbia and Alberta.
BC's Thompson Okanagan Development Region includes the Regional Districts of Columbia-Shuswap, Thompson-Nicola, North Okanagan, Central Okanagan, and the Okanagan-Similkameen (known locally as South Okananan). The population in the Columbia-Shuswap grew at a rate of +2.7% in 2008, a full percentage point above the BC average population growth. Building permits in the Shuswap Region for residential units totalled 502 new units, partly waterfront vacation condos and resort units and the remainder being comprised of single-family primary residences such as Shuswap houses, townhouses, and apartments. This is very significant since the entire Province of British Columbia had building permits for 30,110 total units in 2008. Shuswap real estate is highly regarded as having excellent qualities for waterfront real estate, favourable climate and top vacation property location.
The Shuswap which centers around the City of Salmon Arm in BC Canada, hosts an annual dragonboating festival, arts events, and wilderness experiences in and around the region's Provincial Parks. Waterfront cabins, cottages and RV campgrounds make holidaying exciting and for first-timers visiting Shuswap Lake and Mara Lake. Boat, houseboat and seadoo rentals in Sicamous, Mara, and Salmon Arm complete the summer vacation experience with thrilling watersport adventures.
Shuswap Lake with it's 1000 or so kilometers of shoreline, has many points of access for boaters and other recreation. The lake is quite warm for swimming as lakes in British Columbia go, hence the number of visitors it attracts each year. Fishing and houseboating are among the top water activities.
The North Shuswap is comprised of the communities on the north side of Shuswap Lake including: Celista, Squilax, Scotch Creek and Anglemont.
The South Shuswap includes the communities of Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Mara, Sorrento, Eagle Bay and Blind Bay.