Information worth sharing:
Remarkable Experiences Program fall dates announced – register now.
Registration is now open for Destination British Columbia’s premier industry development workshops. In partnership with the regional tourism associations, Destination BC will deliver the Remarkable Experiences Program to tourism businesses throughout the province.READ MORE
Now in its fourth year, the program provides tourism businesses with consumer insights, product innovation advice, and best practices and tools in digital and social media marketing. With four days of in-class learning coupled with 1.5 hours of private coaching and a digital assessment of business websites and social channels, the program is a valuable business development opportunity at just $450. (click image to see video testimonials)
The in-class sessions are delivered as two separate modules focusing on Experience Design (module 1), and Digital & Social Media Marketing (module 2). Each module is two full days and includes hands-on exercises and group collaboration. The Vancouver Island dates are October 10 & 11, and November 6 & 7, and will be delivered in the south island. Only 30 seats are available so register now to secure your spot.
For more information and to register, please visit DestinationBC.ca/Remarkable-Experiences or contact Lana Cheong, Community & Industry Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-740-1213. Tourism businesses operating in the Greater Victoria area may be eligible for a $200 reimbursement after program completion, through Tourism Victoria.
Google DMO Partnership rolls out on Vancouver Island
In early May, Tourism Vancouver Island joined the Google Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Partnership Program, which allows the organization to provide verification and optimization services as a Trusted Verifier and Provider. In addition, Tourism Vancouver Island can offer 360° photography, all of which is offered to tourism stakeholders at no cost.READ MORE
The data in many of Google’s online properties, including maps, local search, and reviews, is supplemented through a business’ Google My Business profile. Business owners can claim their Google My Business listing, but they are required to complete a verification process. While this typically requires businesses to wait for a postcard with a verification code, the new DMO Partnership Program empowers Tourism Vancouver Island to verify businesses on location. By visiting the tourism stakeholder at their location, Tourism Vancouver Island can use the Trusted Verifier app on a tablet to verify the business listing. Stakeholders no longer have to wait for the code in the mail, and their listing can be optimized to improve the local search visibility.
“This ease of access between the tourism stakeholders and Google is a big step towards providing more accurate travel information to travellers”, said Anthony Everett, President & CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island. “Increasing the visibility of our stakeholders and providing this information to visitors is paramount to the work we do to support tourism businesses and market Vancouver Island as a world-class destination, and for that reason we will be providing these services for free to our stakeholders.”
For businesses that have already claimed their listing, Tourism Vancouver Island’s verification team will be providing optimization services, which include taking 360° photography for their listing and providing best practices on listing maintenance. In addition to verifying business listings on the spot, Tourism Vancouver Island will be able to provide verification codes to more remote businesses through the Trusted Provider program.
Since joining the program Tourism Vancouver Island has visited more than 70 stakeholders throughout the region in communities such as Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Sayward, Campbell River, Parksville, Errington, Ucluelet, Sooke and Victoria. More than 250 360° photos have been uploaded to Google My Business listings as well as provided directly to the stakeholders for use on their websites, social channels, etc.
If you need assistance in claiming your Google My Business listing or would like 360° photographs of your location you can e-mail email@example.com to get started.
BC Tourism Regions and TIABC sign agreement
TIABC and the five regional destination management organizations (RDMOs) have signed an agreement for TIABC to provide secretariat functions for the RDMO Committee. The secretariat role will include administrative RDMO meeting coordination, as well as providing opportunities for collaboration and learning with TIABC and other stakeholders.READ MORE
Glenn Mandziuk was elected chair of the committee for the inaugural year of this new exciting partnership. TIABC is pleased with this partnership with our RDMO members and looks forward to a strong working relationship with the RDMO members.
Image L to R: Laura Plant, TIABC; Anthony Everett, Tourism Vancouver Island; Kathy Cooper, Kootenay Rockies Tourism; Clint Fraser, Northern BC Tourism; Amy Thacker, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism; and Glenn Mandziuk, Thompson Okanagan Tourism.
Accessible tourism boost for Vancouver Island
Accessible tourism in the Vancouver Island region will receive an increased profile, thanks to a commitment between Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI BC) and Tourism Vancouver Island. The three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a coordinated approach to the development of accessible travel and tourism products and services in the Vancouver Island region of BC.READ MORE
The MOU will assist with the adoption, development and promotion of accessible tourism industry practices to stakeholders. Tourism Vancouver Island will rely on the expertise of SCI BC for universal design and accessibility best practices, and work cooperatively with them on accessibility initiatives. The overall goal of the organizations’ agreement is to develop and promote accessible tourism in the Vancouver Island region.
“By collaborating with Spinal Cord Injury BC and leveraging our organizations’ strengths, we’ll work towards making Vancouver Island accessible to everyone,“ said Tourism Vancouver Island’s CEO, Anthony Everett. “Having their involvement during planning and development sessions through to the promotion of accessible tourism activities will lead to better experiences for all travelers and ultimately in making Vancouver Island an even more attractive destination.”
This partnership comes at an opportune time with an increasing demand for information about accessible outdoor amenities from people with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities, and the Government of BC’s goal to make BC a truly inclusive province by 2024. The organizations will collaborate together on projects such as evaluations of tourism experiences to determine how universally accessible they are, that in turn will help support private businesses and communities to apply or access funding and grants to improve accessibility.
“Spinal Cord Injury BC is proud to work with Tourism Vancouver Island to create and highlight accessible outdoor spaces throughout the region,” said Chris McBride, Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury BC. “Together, we’re building inclusive communities and recreation opportunities that everyone can enjoy, enabling people with disabilities, seniors, and families to experience the spirit and beauty of Vancouver Island, whether they’re first-time visitors or call the island home.”
Nanaimo mountain bike trails receive international exposure
In April, the filmmakers of IFHT Films met with professional riders on Vancouver Island. They arrived to experience the thrills of Nanaimo’s mountain bike trails, including the newly built Finer China trail (Doumont) and the world-renowned Stevie Smith Bike Park, home of this year’s Red Bull Pump Track World Championship, Canadian Qualifier.READ MORE
The resulting 10-min video features pro riders Jordie Lunn and Katie Holden, along with the thirteen year old mountain bike phenom Jackson Goldstone. It was shared by IFHT on their YouTube channel and has since received over 149,000 views and many comments from an international audience. Tourism Nanaimo will be sharing the video on social channels as part of a paid digital campaign through to September.
Click image to watch the video.
Nanaimo has also published a Mountain Bike trail map, now available in Nanaimo bike shops and hotels.
Visit RideNanaimo.ca for more information.
Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council
A new Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council (MTEC), with a diverse membership to help guide government’s tourism policy, strategy and program implementation, has been announced by Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Beare made the announcement to media and tourism industry stakeholders prior to the first official gathering of the council on June 1.READ MORE
“This council brings a fresh approach to tourism industry discussions in B.C., drawing on expertise from a wide range of sectors, across all tourism regions of the province, and giving arts, culture and sport a greater voice,” Beare said. “I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work with this council, and I’d like to congratulate each of the members and thank them for volunteering their time. I know that working together, we’ll keep B.C. tourism growing.”
As industry representatives from the provinces’ six tourism regions, the new council members will help government achieve sustainable tourism growth in the province by providing advice on policies, strategies and the issues that affect the industry, and helping to set tourism priorities, goals and strategy implementation.
Sheila Bouman, CEO of viaSport, has been named chair of the council. Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, will serve as vice-chair.
“The new Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council is a great forum for members to provide advice to government on maintaining a competitive tourism industry,” said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. “Collaboration will lead to the adoption of best practices, which will make our industry even stronger.”
Council members represent small and large tourism businesses, marketing organizations, culture and sport groups, Indigenous communities, municipalities, technology companies, and wilderness guides, as well as many other sectors. The size – 28 members – and diversity of the council will ensure government receives timely information about emerging issues from every geographic region and every major tourism sector.
Members will serve for one- or two-year terms. The council is a volunteer commitment, but members will be reimbursed for travel to MTEC meetings, which will be held up to four times per year.
For the full release including quick facts and member biographies, click here.
Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit: October 24-25, 2018
Registration is now open. The 12th Anniversary ‘State of the Island’ Economic Summit is scheduled for Wednesday & Thursday, October 24 & 25, 2018 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo. The Vancouver Island State of the Island Economic Summit provides a venue and a forum for businesses and stakeholders on Vancouver Island to understand the State of the Island Economy.READ MORE
Youth, First Nations, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Small Business and other inspirational leaders on Vancouver Island participate in championing actions which will position Vancouver Island in the Global Marketplace. Everyone attending will receive a complimentary copy of the ‘State of the Island Economic Report.’
The Economic Summit is an annual gathering of business, community and government leaders sharing ideas, asking questions, networking, learning about new initiatives, and exploring opportunities. Anyone is welcomed to register and participate in the broad range of sessions which revolve around VIEA’s core principals of collaboration to add vitality to the Vancouver Island economy:
- promoting a sustainable and diversified economy for all residents of Vancouver Island economic region;
- promoting strong communities and First Nations along with careful stewardship of our natural resources;
- providing regional leadership for regional business attraction, retention and expansion;
- promoting regional initiatives that strengthens economic capacity;
- positioning Vancouver Island as an attractive option for business investment; and
- fostering regional economic growth and diversification.
go2HR relaunches the revitalized SuperHost Customer Service Training Program
go2HR – BC’s tourism human resource association – relaunched the revitalized SuperHost, including new and refreshed courses, at Science World on May 31. The event honoured the historical roots of the program, bringing back beloved Expo 86 mascot “Expo Ernie” to celebrate the relaunch! READ MORE
Significant changes have been made to SuperHost courses and delivery options, as announced by Arlene Keis, CEO of go2HR. “Today we are officially launching the online version of Foundations of Service Quality. This fundamentals course focuses on the value of customer experience to the business and includes new concepts such as Net Promotor Score, the impact of social media and its influence on customer expectations and experiences.”
Foundations of Service Quality: The first new course, Foundations of Service Quality, introduces the principles of providing a quality service experience in the workplace, highlighting the importance of exceptional customer service. Students learn about workplace communication, problem solving, customer and employer expectations, and more. Foundations of Service Quality is available in both classroom and online format. Learn More.
Destination BC announced three-year Base Funding for Visitor Services Network
Last year, British Columbia welcomed 5.7 million international visitors – an increase of 3.3% or 181,700 more visitors up from 2016. As tourism numbers continue to rise, so does the need to ensure visitors are receiving exemplary visitor information when and where they need it. READ MORE
In 2017, Visitor Centres around the province served almost 2.9 million visitors in their communities and at their physical locations. Destination BC recognizes the valuable contribution that Visitor Services provides and is once again announcing three-years of base funding to support more than 100 communities in their provision of visitor services.
This three-year commitment will provide improved long-term business planning, increased stability and allow for innovation in communities across the province. In 2018/19, $1.825 million has been allotted for base funding. Base funding will help community Visitor Centres around BC to keep pace with the changing needs and expectations of visitors, including through the use of technology.
For the full announcement and more details, click here.
From June 22 to October 8 Direct Air Canada flight between Toronto and Nanaimo creates opportunities for travellers and economy
“We are very excited about this announcement,” says Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport. “Adding scheduled service like this reinforces our commitment to being the
Central Island’s gateway to the world.”READ MORE
The new flight gives people who live and work in the region easier access to Air Canada’s vast network of global flights from its Toronto hub. From there the many choices include sun
destinations like Florida and the Bahamas, as well as major European cities.
“This is a very significant new route with a large body aircraft,” says Nanaimo Airport Commission Chair Lucie Gosselin. “We are happy to see Air Canada’s recognition of the growth
potential for the central island region and the Nanaimo Airport.” Air Canada Rouge will operate the flight Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays using a 136-seat Airbus A319 plane. It will arrive at 11:28 a.m. and depart at 12:15 p.m. The airline already operates daily flights from Nanaimo to Vancouver and Calgary.
“We are very pleased to announce new, non-stop flights from Nanaimo directly to Toronto to help make summer travel to and from Vancouver Island even more convenient. With more than 755 seats and up to 11 daily flights next summer, Air Canada will be flying non-stop from Nanaimo Airport to three of our Canadian hubs – Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, offering the most options and unparalleled choices for vacation travellers to get to Nanaimo and the surrounding municipalities. Additionally, customers from this area will have direct access to even more far-reaching destinations in our global network at our primary Toronto hub,” stated Benjamin Smith, President-Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.
“Schedules that provide choice is the key to Nanaimo Airport’s continued growth and to ensure safe, reliable transportation for Central Vancouver Island residents,” says Hooper. “The additional service to Toronto is a major indicator of how strongly the communities in our region are supporting the Central Island’s airport of choice.”
Hooper says the new flight is a good fit for the airport’s role as a key driver of the regional economy. “By creating new opportunities for convenient leisure and business travel, this service has significant potential for Central Island economic development.”
Business owners, investors and workers will benefit. A direct connection to Toronto means new markets, customers and jobs can be pursued from a base in the Central Island. It also means advantages for the region’s tourism industry and for the educational sector, which seek to attract students from overseas.
Hooper says Nanaimo Airport Commission’s vision and planning are driven by the needs of the people who rely on the airport for affordable and efficient connections to the world. The commission’s investment in infrastructure, including lengthening the runway in 2011, helped paved the way for the arrival of large aircraft such as the Airbus A319. And the airport earlier this year announced an expansion plan for its Air Terminal Building, to accommodate record passenger volumes and make the travelling experience even more comfortable. The expansion begins in 2018.
Since 2006, passenger traffic has more than doubled. This year more than 355,000 passengers will fly in and out of Nanaimo Airport. In addition, cargo shipments through the airport are booming.
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