Tourism delegates visit Nanaimo

Nanaimo is centre stage this week for tourism delegates from across the region taking part in the 48th annual Conference for Tourism Vancouver Island.

More than 150 delegates will participate in the conference, which began Tuesday and concludes today (Sept. 22), bringing with them an estimated $200,000 in revenue to the Nanaimo region.

While delegates will take part in many activities in Nanaimo, including tours of Newcastle Island, Wild Play Element Park and kayaking tours among them, they will also have a chance to network and showcase various regions of the Island.

Chelsea Barr, spokeswoman for the City of Nanaimo, said an effort was made on     several fronts to bring the conference to Nanaimo.

"A lot of some of the bigger partners in Nanaimo have been involved in bringing this conference to Nanaimo," said Barr. "It's nice to be able to showcase Nanaimo to the people who work at the front desk right up to the tourism marketing managers. It's a very diverse group of people attending."

Hosted by Tourism Vancouver Island, the conference is taking place at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, which, said Denise Tacon, general manager of VICC, also provides an opportunity to show off some of the centre's leading-edge features.

"The delegates from this conference will be exposed to all that Nanaimo has to offer as their agenda is both entertaining and informative, focusing on tourism as one of our biggest investments. We're thrilled to work with our partners and simultaneously showcase Nanaimo in the heart of Vancouver Island," said Tacon.

Tacon said delegates will also get first-hand experience of the amenities at VICC including 100MB high speed wireless Internet, VOIP phone system, digital way-finding and global broadcast capabilities.

A.J. Hustins, co-chairman of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, recently formed to take over economic development tasks for Nanaimo, said hosting the conference is an excellent opportunity for Nanaimo, but wishes the timing had been a little better as the corporation's new CEO, Susan Cudahy, is completing her work in Ontario and is just a couple of weeks away from starting her new position in Nanaimo.

"We're very excited about the conference being here but we didn't want to start down a path before Susan arrived," said Hustins. "So it was a bit of a Catch-22 for us."

Trip advisor sessions, mayor's jeopardy on tourism, and various presentations will also be part of the conference.

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