News Bulletin file

Nanaimo and mid-Island region had a good summer, tourism-wise

European tourists came earlier than normal, says Tourism Vancouver Island

The summer was good for tourism in Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, according to those in the industry.

Anthony Everett, chief executive officer with Tourism Vancouver Island, said the summer season was generally positive for Nanaimo and the Island as a whole, despite a slow start.

“There was a period, earlier in the summer, where there was some uncertainty about where business was going but now we are at a stage where it is strong up and down the Island,” he said.

Although visitation figures were not provided, Everrett said the majority of visitors to Nanaimo and the region were from Washington, California, Oregon, Alberta and Europe.

“It has been one of those years where it has been a little bit harder for us to get a handle on things,” he said. “But overall everyone is satisfied with how business has been.”

Everett said Nanaimo and the majority of the province benefited this season because there weren’t major issues with wildfire smoke filling the skies. He also said the mid-Island region saw more European tourists come earlier on in the summer.

RELATED: Tourism Nanaimo invites celebrities to sample ‘real’ Nanaimo bars

Jilann Campbell, owner of Vancouver Island Whale Watch, which is based in Nanaimo and began operations last year, said her company had a great summer.

“This was our second season, so we had more bookings than we had the first year,” she said. “In terms of wildlife sightings, it was unparalleled. It was great. We saw whales on over 90 per cent of our excursions, with some days even seeing more than one species of whales.”

Campbell said they had visitors from everywhere, with the bulk coming from Europe and North America. She said the majority of North Americans came from outside of British Columbia while the majority of Europeans were from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

“It was pretty much all over the place,” she said.

Meanwhile, Marlene Peaker, co-owner of the Buccaneer Inn, said it was also a good summer for the inn on Stewart Avenue. She said there seemed to be fewer Americans and Albertans visiting this year, but a steady number of Europeans.

“It was above average for us. Our summer was a little bit different personally because we had some long-term guests,” Peaker said, adding “We saw them [Europeans] throughout the summer and we’re still seeing them now.”

Overall tourism on Vancouver Island for the year has been mixed, with some operators faring better than others according to Everett.

“It has been mixed results. Hotels are up, B.C. Ferries is kind of stable but Nanaimo airport traffic is considerably up while Victoria airport is down a bit,” he said. “If you look at the significant business, some of them are down and some of them are up. I’ve never seen that before.”

Everett said global economic uncertainty stemming from an ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China and fears of a potential recession is having an impact on tourism, but he isn’t sure to what degree.

“I couldn’t say [how much of an impact] but I’ve been doing this a long time and my view is that geo-political forces do have an impact on travel and fears of a recession do have an impact on travel,” he said, adding that tourism trends tend to follow a country’s gross domestic product.

However, despite the uncertainty, Everett said the consensus among tourism operators is that 2019 will turn out to be a positive year.

“Overall, they are thinking this is a good year and this has been one of the better years that we have had,” he said.

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







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo woman seeks knitters to make blankets for cats

Dale Burke inspired by creator of Comfort for Critters

City of Nanaimo’s budget talks start with 5.2-per cent tax increase

Series of special finance and audit meetings start Wednesday, Nov. 20

Lantzville seeks changes to policing cost model for small towns

Policing costs significantly increase once a municipality’s population exceeds 5,000

Headlocks for Hunger pro wrestling show making its return

Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling holding card Saturday, Nov. 23 at Centennial Building

Nanaimo’s ‘Living History’ isn’t being forgotten

City announces return of speaker series for one night Nov. 19

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. petition calls for seat belts in new school buses

Agassiz bus driver collects 124,000 signatures in support

Nanaimo service station first in B.C. to be part of Petro-Canada’s ‘electric highway’

EV charge stations started operating last month at service station at Terminal and Princess Royal

Nanaimo school district starting from scratch on testing water for lead

Health Canada changed acceptable levels to 0.005 mg/L in March, prompting re-testing at schools

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Most Read