If BC’s Restart Plan goes as scheduled, we expect to have a much-needed strong summer season with occupancy rates similar to 2019.
Unfortunately, though, we will still not host high-value international travellers who usually make up 25% of our summer visitation and are a major market for our wildlife, hiking, fishing and kayaking excursion operators. Throughout B.C., this problem is top-of-mind and Destination BC, Tourism Vancouver Island and the community DMOs, like us, are all focused on encouraging our BC visitors to re-discover their own big nature by taking a guided tour.
We are also monitoring bookings and projections regularly and adjusting our work to ensure that we are always supporting our members and community. Much of our recent work is designed to influence visitors to travel responsibly and respectfully. This includes several new activities that we have activated so far in 2021 such as:
- Placement of electronic billboards between Nanaimo and Nanoose (to see all 3 click here):
- Production of a ‘Welcome to Tofino’ video: This video has been and will continue to be distributed widely through social media, Tourism Tofino and member businesses ( view video ). And, we’ve updated its companion piece, the ‘Welcome to Tofino’ brochure. This brochure is distributed on BC Ferries and through the Visitor Centre and member businesses. Like the video, this piece utilizes Tla-o-qui-aht teachings to inspire mindful and respectful travel by experiencing a greater connection with our surrounding environment.
- Production of a ‘How to Thrive in Tofino’ staff on-boarding tool for use by local employers (view video ): This video provides staff new to Tofino with local insights and expectations so they can integrate quickly and become positive influences with the guests they serve.
- Initiated creation of a new Destination Management Committee: This Committee is called ‘Together Tofino’ and consists of a group of local industry and government representatives who will collaborate on strategies that reduce issues related to the tourism economy.
- Utilization of organic social media: This has been conducted throughout the pandemic to connect with Tofino fans. Maintaining these valuable connections has created pent-up desire to visit Tofino, once travel is permitted, and has helped strengthen our current summer recovery process. We have not conducted any paid advertising since November 2020 and evaluate needs and opportunities on an on-going basis. Paid advertising and media relations activities are expected to resume in September when competition for fall and winter travellers heats up.
- Planning and preparation for generating corporate retreats and meetings: We have utilized this time to prepare a plan to sell Tofino as an off-peak and mid-week destination for small corporate meetings and retreats, once they can be resumed. This type of business improves year-round economic sustainability and, over time, will provide more long-term employment opportunities which will decrease the reliance on seasonal staff.
- Maintenance of accurate ‘Travelling to Tofino During COVID-19’ information on our website: This is one of our top-visited pages.
- Dissemination of current ‘What’s Open’ information: Information is posted on our website for use by local residents during travel restrictions, and by visitors as restrictions are lifted. It is also communicated via social media.
- Distribution of new District of Tofino Beach Fire regulations: Updated regulations have been distributed to members, have been updated in our “Plan Your Trip” section, and will continue to be provided to the travelling public.
- Sponsorship of Tuff City Radio restaurant promotion.
- Co-ordination of periodic MUP clean-ups.
- Implementation new environmental stewardship programs: In partnership with Surfrider Pacific Rim, Tourism Tofino will organize and promote a weekly beach clean of Chesterman Beach during the summer, and provide a marine debris collection service at the Visitor Centre.
- Increased Visitor Centre services: Our Ocean Friendly certified Visitor Centre has remained open to answer the steady stream of travel inquiries. Not only does the Centre have a water bottle filling station and a new on-line store, but it is also now a PPE recovery and recycling depot.
- Welcomed back partners: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve counsellors have returned to our Visitor Centre to provide Park information to guests – we’re thrilled!
- And, starting in July we will restart our mobile Visitor Services outreach with ChesterVan!
There’s a lot going on at Tourism Tofino as we strive to adapt to the current times and plan ahead for better days. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your thoughts and ideas.
To review our plans and reports, connect to research sources and access general industry information go to: https://tourismtofino.com/about-us/.