Nanaimo skyline. (NEWS BULLETIN file)

City of Nanaimo, Tourism V.I. to partner for another five years

City announces it will continue to work with Tourism Vancouver Island

Tourism Vancouver Island will continue to provide marketing and visitor services for Nanaimo.

The City of Nanaimo announced on Monday that it has reached a five-year service agreement with Tourism Vancouver Island. The agreement will see Tourism Vancouver Island handle delivery of marketing, destination development and visitor service activities for the city. The contract is worth $3,246,250 over five years, according to city staff.

Tourism Vancouver Island has been handling tourism for the city under the name Tourism Nanaimo since early 2017 after the previous council decided in fall 2016 to eliminate tourism from Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation’s list of responsibilities.

Speaking to the News Bulletin, Liz Williams, manager of recreation services, said the city was required to put tourism services to a request for proposal and went through a “fairly extensive” process.

“We used to have visitor services with one organization, we had destination development at another organization,” she said. “What we’ve got now is one organization is looking after all the development and marketing services. It is streamlined and we have got one place to go when we have got questions.”

When it comes to measuring Tourism V.I.’s performance, Williams said the city doesn’t focus on metrics because they can be challenging to measure and they can also be impacted by a variety of external factors such as weather and the economy.

Williams said the city wants and expects Tourism V.I. to put Nanaimo in “its best light” from a tourism perspective through the use of marketing campaigns and destination development.

“That’s what we will be measuring,” she said.

The visitor centre at Northfield Road and the Nanaimo Parkway will operate as it has been under Tourism V.I. according to Williams, who said the way the centre’s services are provided could change in the future.

“Right now we rely on professionals in the industry to guide us,” she said. “Is that where it needs to be forever and ever? We would certainly be open to change. Not as many people are using walk-in visitor servicing throughout the tourism industry,” she said, adding the internet has contributed to that decline and that Tourism V.I. is very aware of it.

Williams said the city is pleased to have Tourism V.I. on board for five years and optimistic about the direction tourism and tourism services are heading in Nanaimo.

“With a long-term strategy in place, Tourism Nanaimo can successfully continue to attract visitors, friends, family and business. With a strong focus on partnerships, collaboration and community input, we are sure to see considerable growth in this sector,” Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said in a press release.

Also in the press release, Anthony Everett, president and chief executive officer of Tourism Vancouver Island, thanked partners including tourism operators, the Nanaimo Hospitality Association, and Snuneymuxw First Nation. 
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