NEDC’s tourism division embarks on strategic plan

Citizens can participate through online survey, open houses.

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation is embarking on a medium-term strategy to increase the role of tourism in Nanaimo, and wants to hear from citizens and tourism stakeholders on the city’s strong and weak points in that sector.

NEDC’s Tourism Leadership Committee is working in partnership with Chemistry Consulting Group to identify the city’s strength and weaknesses when it comes to tourism.

Nanaimo already boasts attractions like the Nanaimo Harbour and Boat Basin, Newcastle Island, recreational and cultural facilities, parks and the Nanaimo Museum.

The strategy is being designed with the help of public feedback.

“What we’re looking for is to understand both what the community feels are our most iconic attractions or areas they feel are our strengths as well as what they feel are areas we should continue to market and what’s working for us and what isn’t,” said Jenn Houtby-Ferguson, spokeswoman for NEDC. “Then we’ll have an opportunity to evaluate our strengths and our weaknesses and identify a plan to move forward.”

People can participate in a 15-question survey at www.investnanaimo.com by clicking on the ‘news’ tab. Surveys must be completed by noon on Aug. 28. Two open houses for further consultation are also being planned for the fall.

The information collected is expected to be processed by Christmas and the resulting plan will guide the committee’s mandate for the next two  years after.

Houtby-Ferguson said the process is about identifying opportunity.

“If there is infrastructure and infrastructure investment that needs to happen, and whether an opportunity is publicly funded or privately funded … It’s all on the table at this point,” she said.

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