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Tourism restructuring underway

Nanaimo’s new Economic Development Corporation is now in charge of promoting the city’s tourism industry.

The corporation assumes operation of Tourism Nanaimo Tuesday (Dec. 20) and also brought Destination Nanaimo into the fold.

“Combining the two departments is a better use of funding and resources,” said Susan Cudahy, EDC chief executive officer.

With the formation of the corporation, Tourism Nanaimo lost its $310,000 funding from the city and Tourism Nanaimo Society members voted to discontinue operations by the end of December and dissolve by April 30.

The tourism office at Beban House on Bowen Road closed Dec. 10.

New operations under the corporation will run out of the visitor information centre at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre until construction of an office at the Northfield Road rest area off the Nanaimo Parkway is complete next spring.

The seven Tourism Nanaimo employees all found employment, with two staffers making the move to the conference centre’s information kiosk.

Mark Drysdale, Tourism Nanaimo executive director, won’t join the staff at the EDC, but starts work with Venture Connect, a Community Futures project in the new year.

He said he has mixed emotions about the changes.

“Tourism was kind of fractured in the community with several players, including ourselves and Destination Nanaimo involved,” he said. “The new format brings all the services under one umbrella, so that provides strength."

Cudahy said there will be some transition time, but work on tourism promotion begins in the new year.

“We’ve started the process, taken over the website and people are going to start to see some new looks,” she said.

Beban House is for rent and a site viewing takes place Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. For more information, please contact Bob Kuhn at 250-755-7512.

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