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Tourism Nanaimo future in limbo

Tourism Nanaimo continues to find itself in a state of flux over its future.

The organization is losing its $310,000 funding from the city in December and tourism will be taken over by the newly formed Economic Development Corporation.

A Tourism Nanaimo membership meeting Tuesday at Beban Park drew about 40 members to hear Ian Howat, city director of strategic relationships, discuss the corporation and the new role of tourism.

Mark Drysdale, executive director of Tourism Nanaimo, said while the two-hour meeting didn’t produce any fireworks, there was evidence of frustration during the question period.

“I don’t think the frustration is so much with the Economic Development Corporation model, but by the way the whole thing has been handled,” said Drysdale. “We’re in limbo because we’ve been told our funding ends in December so we have to start winding up the organization. Yet, there’s a possibility that we could sub-contract to the new [corporation].”

Other concerns include how tourism volunteers would interface with the corporation, disassembling the current structure before the new structure is in place and marketing versus tourism services.

“Some members expressed frustration that Tourism Nanaimo is being dismantled when it is doing a good job of tourism services, yet the marketing efforts are falling down, and that’s Destination Nanaimo and the city’s responsibility,” said Drysdale.

While all visitor service aspects of Tourism Nanaimo will continue through the spring and summer, Drysdale said members will be polled to determine the future of the organization.

The results will be discussed at the annual general meeting in late June or July.

“We’re going to have to make some real decisions by then,” he said. “Three options that jump to mind are you fold up the tent, you go on your own without any contractual relationship with the city or Economic Development Corporation, or you try to lobby for a sub-contractual relationship around the tourism component of that corporation.”

 

 

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