ECONOMIC UPDATE: Nanaimo promoted as tourist destination

NANAIMO – City's economic development corporation's primary focus is business development.

By Sasha Angus

The primary focus of Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation is business development, which it pursues by supporting both newly established and existing businesses and by attracting new business, investment and visitors to the region.

As part of its efforts to grow the region’s key economic sectors, the NEDC promotes the region’s strengths and attributes as a business and tourism destination, and works to ensure that all of its customers have the information they need to make informed business and tourism investment decisions.

The tourism activities of the NEDC are led by Tourism Nanaimo, which is an industry-led destination marketing organization, tasked with promoting Nanaimo and region as a place where you can have a great tourism experience. Tourism Nanaimo is supported by the Tourism Leadership Committee which is comprised of 14 tourism-industry stakeholders who provide strategic guidance related to tourism marketing, infrastructure and product development.

Tourism is a significant part of the Nanaimo regional economy. The recently conducted Tourism Economic Impact Study reveals the extent of that significance. According to the study, there were 2,154 tourism-related businesses in Nanaimo and region as of June 2013. Annual tourism-related employment income in Nanaimo is estimated at $90.3 million.

Tourist accommodators spend an estimated $20.9 million annually, including an estimated $5.32 million in wages, benefits and labour costs, more than $5 million in supply purchase and sub-contract costs, and more than $880,000 in professional and business fees. Total estimated annual visitor spending – tourism revenue – is estimated at $72.4 million.

When considering the economic contribution of tourism to the Nanaimo and region economy, it is important to recognize that visitor spending extends well beyond accommodation properties and attractions, benefiting a wide range of sectors including food and beverage, transportation, retail, professional services, recreation and entertainment, and the list goes on.

Tourism acts as a platform for a host of different industries in our community. It not only generates significant economic impact, but also showcases our community, attracting new residents and investment.

To learn all about the Nanaimo and region tourism industry, please go to

Sasha Angus is CEO of Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.