Tourism after 'rubber tire traffic'

Tourism Nanaimo has set out on the path to pull in more tourists with a new visitor centre on the Parkway Trail.

The centre, opened Sept. 30 at the Parkway Trail Rest Area where Northfield Road crosses the Nanaimo Parkway.

Sasha Angus, Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation CEO, said visitor numbers compared to those from last year’s tourist season.

That’s good considering visitors were were served by portables on the site before the new centre was finished.

“Some days were heavier – some days there were 40. We call them groups. Some people might come in pairs of two or more,” Angus said. “The highest was in the low 40s. A typical day would probably be around 30 groups, which was comparable to what we saw last season.”

He said Tourism Nanaimo anticipates higher visitor numbers at the new location from people passing through Nanaimo as well as Nanaimo residents looking for information on how to be tourists in their own town.

The convenience of the location – next to one of Nanaimo’s major arterial routes, compared to the old site at Beban Park which was more difficult to find – will likely be the biggest factor driving up visits to the centre.

“Rubber tire traffic for Vancouver Island is still very important,” Angus said. “We get a lot of folks coming through the airport and a lot of people coming through B.C. Ferries as well, but that artery on Northfield is very important as well.”

Tourism Nanaimo is currently looking for volunteers to man its visitor centres downtown and at Northfield Road.

“It’s a wonder service that we get from the community, which is folks who want to be boosters of our community and tell everyone about the wonderful opportunities that are here, so the more the merrier,” Angus said.

For information about volunteering or to fill out an application to volunteer, please contact Kara Walsh at 250-713-9862 or via email at

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