A consultant has been hired to come up with options for a tourism business model. NEWS BULLETIN file

A consultant has been hired to come up with options for a tourism business model. NEWS BULLETIN file

Consultant gets to work on tourism model for Nanaimo

Community and stakeholders to be part of the discussion around tourism in Harbour City

The community will help build a new vision for tourism and the kind of entity charged with bringing visitors to the Harbour City, as consulting work gets underway.

Nanaimo’s new 11-member tourism advisory committee has hired Twenty31 Consulting to help come up with a new model for tourism. The committee will schedule engagement with tourism industry representatives and community members.

Tourism has been in transition since city council pulled it from the now-defunct Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation last year. The city contracted with Tourism Vancouver Island to handle destination marketing and development and built a tourism advisory committee to come up with a new governance model.

“The consultants that we’ve engaged are among some of the best tourism minds in Canada and beyond and so I believe very strongly that they’re part of this process and I think they’re going to guide us on a path that is going, ultimately, to be very successful for Nanaimo as a community,” said Jenn Houtby-Ferguson, vice-chairwoman of the committee. “Tourism is an economic driver and I believe that the governance structure is actually critical to our ongoing success.”

With tourism separated from the NEDC, which no longer exists, Houtby-Ferguson said there’s an opportunity to move forward in a different way. She said the committee will be thoughtful and strategic about how to move forward, and is committed to engaging with stakeholders.

“I think this committee is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to hearing broad, varying points of view as we move forward. I’m invested in tourism. I have been for many years in Nanaimo and I see such potential and I’m excited to see where we go,” she said.

Twenty31 will present up to three options for the City of Nanaimo, according to the consulting firm’s principal, Greg Klassen, who presented to council last week. A detailed report will look at opportunities for the model, which is what kind of entity will support the business of tourism. He also said they will create a vision for the tourism industry.

Houtby-Ferguson said the initial process will go through to the fall, when the committee expects to go back to council with recommendations. The cost of a consultant is close to $30,000.

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