Tourism Vancouver Island updates

Happy New Year from the team at Tourism Vancouver Island!

Marketing: The results for Find Your Element are in and they’re fantastic!  Tourism FYE ca screenshotVancouver Island aired two flights of TV commercials on Global in BC and Alberta from April 18 – June 12 and August 15 – October 30.  The spots aired a total of 13,884 times and received more than 53 million impressions.  The total value of the TV campaign was $612,446, which is more than eight times the actual investment.  If you haven’t seen these television commercials yet you can view them on our YouTube channel.

We also conducted a two-wave conversion study on the Find Your Element campaign and we are very pleased with the results.  Ad recall for both waves of the campaign (Spring and Fall) is 39%, which is 3 percentage points above the norm that is typically seen by Insignia Research (the company who conducted the survey) for similar campaigns.  The survey also found that consumers advanced 15-18% down the path-to-purchase.  Additionally, an average of 56% of those surveyed indicated that they are Somewhat or Much More Likely to visit the Vancouver Island region after seeing the campaign.  The final ROI figure will be completed in the coming weeks and we’ll report on it at that time. In the meantime, you can read the full conversion study reports here.

Be sure to visit the campaign website,, as of January 16th when the new stakeholder listings will be uploaded.  If you haven’t yet purchased your online listing there’s still time and they’re available for as little as $95 per year.  The website has seen more than 110,000 sessions since mid-April and that will grow even more now that it’s the singular call-to-action for all of Tourism Vancouver Island’s marketing programs.  Contact your sales representative for all the details.

Regions:  Gulf Islands, South Island, Cowichan & Nanaimo
Cindy Pollard
Phone: 250-667-8327

Regions:  Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Pacific Rim, North Central & North Island
Kevin East
Phone: 250-650-8712

What are your thoughts on the Find Your Element campaign?  Your thoughtful and constructive feedback helps inform our decision making for future campaigns and you’re encouraged to send your comments to Denise Le Gal, Consumer Marketing Specialist, at or call her at 250-740-1215.

Community & Industry Relations: This Fall the Community and Industry Services team was busy implementing the Destination Development and Cooperative Marketing Partnerships Programs, delivering the Remarkable Experiences program, and also offering Value of Tourism Presentations to community groups, stakeholder groups and municipal leaders.

Since kicking off in late July, the Destination development Program progressed quickly while showing many early signs of success in the South/Central Island Planning Area. In total, 10 planning sessions have taken place across the Pacific Rim, Central Island, Cowichan Valley and Gulf Islands. Tourism Vancouver Island staff, Destination BC and planning area facilitators are in the process of developing a Destination Development Strategy Framework for the South/Central Island to be reviewed by a smaller working group in January. This program was initiated in the Greater Victoria Region in December and it is expected that it will start in the North Central and North Island Regions in 3-5 months.

Applications for the second year of Destination BC’s Cooperative Marketing Partnership Program were accepted in November. Last year the Vancouver Island Region received nearly $1 million dollars in matching  Destination BC marketing funds through this program. Tourism Vancouver Island staff are pleased to report that the Vancouver Island Region has requested an additional $121,906 in Destination BC funding over last year, totaling $1,222,656. Destination BC is expected to notify successful applicants in the next month.

Lesley Anderson of Tourism Cafe delivering the Experience Design module

Lesley Anderson of Tourism Cafe delivering the Experience Design module

Created by Destination BC, the Remarkable Experiences Program is designed to provide tools and help individual businesses improve their visitor experience and become better digital marketers. Tourism Vancouver Island, in partnership with Destination BC, has delivered an introductory program over the period from October to December 2016 in the Cowichan region. This three-module program featured in-person workshops focusing on Experience Design, Digital Marketing, and Social Media Marketing along with one-on-one individualized coaching sessions to maximize the program goals of each business. Each module was facilitated by experts in their field and feedback from participants has been positive. Destination BC will be implementing improvements to the program and delivery of future programs is expected to be announced shortly. For more information on this program, please contact Lana Cheong, Community & Industry Specialist at or by phone at 250-740-1213.

Calum value presentation

Calum Matthews, Community & Industry Specialist, presenting to a group of Vancouver Island Mayors, MLAs and Regional District Chairs.

In an effort to increase the recognition of the economic and social value of tourism to the Vancouver Island Region, Tourism Vancouver Island has presented to over a dozen community groups, stakeholder groups and municipal governments and would be happy to deliver a presentation on the Value of Tourism to your community or group. Presentations can be personalized to your audience and time frame and average 20 – 45 minutes. Presentations have been delivered to groups such as the Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Mayors and Councils, and MLAs. For more information, visit To request a speaking engagement, please contact Calum Matthews, Community & Industry Specialist at or by phone at 250-740-1224.

Trade & Media: Tourism Vancouver Island participated in Go Media this past October and met with over 30 journalists. Journalists were looking for Canada 150 activities and unique experiences that highlight local culture. Vancouver Island is hot on their list of places to visit for 2017. This Fall Tourism Vancouver Island hosted journalists from Japan, New Zealand, Canada, France, USA and BC. Highlights from recent media coverage include: National Geographic Australia, by Sean Scott; and The Weather Network Canada (Westholme Tea, Cowichan Sweaters, Cowichan Wine) by Krissy Vann.

Tourism Vancouver Island assisted with hosting Jonview agents and a group of key Australian product managers this past fall. Jonview agents visited areas of Tofino, Ucluelet, Parksville and Victoria and the Australian product managers visited Port Hardy and Great Bear Nature tours. In November, Tourism Vancouver Island attended Canada’s West Marketplace and met with over 50 operators at this event. Our position was focused on promoting shoulder season product and new experiences that are unique to the Island. Coming up, we will be hosting our annual Discover Vancouver Island event on February 16th with over 20 tour operators attending. The event is sold out but keep an eye out for your invitation next year to attend. For more information on working with travel media or travel trade, contact Heather McEachen, Trade & Media Specialist at or by phone at 250-740-1214.

Canada #1 in New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2017

The New York Times recently announced their list of places to visit, and Canada tops the list! Reasons to visit include over 200 national parks and historic sites, a weak exchange rate, and celebrations throughout the country for Canada’s 150th anniversary! Visit the full list here.


Launched January 1, 2017, Passport2017 –  free way to promote and market your event to tourists across the country.

Thousands of events have been planned to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. In order to help Canadians discover, explore and celebrate the country in its 150th year, we’ve built Passport 2017, a travel and event discover app that will be the hub for all sesquicentennial activity.

Passport2017 will be Canada’s official mobile gateway to all the great events ad attractions taking place in 2017: from concerts to lobster suppers and Crashed Ice competitions, the app will direct Canadians and international travellers to events that matter to them.

We designed the Passport 2017 app to help you connect with this audience. You can enter your events for free at right now. Entering your event takes no time at all. The site is safe, secure and easy to use, and you can change times, dates and event info whenever you’d like.

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If you have any questions about the project, or are experiencing any problems loading an event to the website, please email

Northern Vancouver Island Tourism Operators Create Conservation Fund

NIMMSA-HeaderNovember 16, 2016:  Tourism operators in the Vancouver Island North region who are members of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) recently decided to donate $1.00 per guest per day to an industry implemented conservation fund.

“This has been something that has been on the minds of a number of northern Vancouver Island tourism operators for several years” says Jared Towers, Executive Director of NIMMSA. He said that “monies donated to this fund will be annually distributed to selected organizations who have applied to NIMMSA for grants to conduct marine conservation focused activities in the region”.

The North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) is a society that undertakes business and stewardship initiatives aimed at benefiting the environment and economy of northern Vancouver Island. The association is comprised of members from northern Vancouver Island businesses including over 90% of stakeholders in the marine wildlife viewing industry such as those offering whale-watching tours, kayaking trips, lodge-based activities, vessel-based expeditions and private charters. These companies provide over 250 jobs and cater to between 25,000 and 40,000 international tourists each year.

NIMMSA President Andrew Jones says “The efforts of local conservation groups have increased our understanding of the environment, threats to it and how we can mitigate them. As we rely on their success to ensure that tourism operators are working in a healthy marine environment this fund just makes sense, especially considering the area could be the world’s next Whale Heritage Site.”

In April, NIMMSA applied to designate the Vancouver Island North region as a Whale Heritage Site (WHS). This international eco-label will help draw attention to northern Vancouver Island and stimulate opportunities for development of the economy, culture, and environmental conservation in the region.

For more information or to become a member of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association please see

Contact: Jared Towers, NIMMSA Executive Director at 250-902-1779; or Andrew Jones, NIMMSA President at 250-974-7187.

BC Tourism Industry Conference early bird registration ends January 15, 2017

For over 20 years, the BC Tourism Industry ConferenceBCTIC logo has been providing a forum for tourism businesses and stakeholders from around British Columbia to come together to learn from experts and each other about the key issues, challenges and best practices in the industry.

We welcome anyone interested in tourism to participate in this annual gathering. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with other tourism businesses, communities and government leaders – share ideas, ask questions, network, learn, and explore!

The conference program is in progress thanks to the over 300 people who responded to our session selector voting process. As we approach a provincial election and face both successes and challenges in our industry, our conference themes will include:

  • Advocacy Matters
  • Innovation Matters
  • Marketing Matters
  • People Matter
  • Tourism Development Matters

Is Green Tourism just a fad?

green tourism bThe travel industry is currently experiencing a “New Tourism”, according to the World Tourism Organization. These new tourists have a high level of environmental and cultural awareness and are seeking experiences that align with their values.  A 2013 Travel Guard survey to travel agents showed that 75% believe “green travel is here to stay” and is at the highest it’s been in the past 10 years. More and more, travellers want a holiday that they can feel good about from a social and environmental perspective, while also checking off their budget and fun boxes.

In a recent Green Tourism report, they have done the work for you: conducting research, collecting surveys and talking to travellers to find out what they really wanted from tourism operators in Canada.

  • Do travellers really care about a tourism operator’s environmental performance?
  • Does having a certification really matter?
  • Are travellers willing to pay more for a greener experience?
  • Is “being green” just a fad?

Click here to download the Free Report: What Travellers Want But Aren’t Telling You.

Don’t miss out on getting the inside scoop in this free report, which not only walks you through the research results, but also offers ideas to help you navigate the wants and desires of your guests to boost business, shift consumer perspective and save you money.

As a reminder, current TIABC members are entitled to receive a $100 discount on annual Green Tourism fees in addition to the following:

  • Access to the online Green Tourism Members Community and Forum, set to be launched this winter (value of $99+/year).
  • Access to the online Green Tourism self-check assessment tool set to be launched in the new year (does not result in certification).

As one of the first sustainable tourism certification programs in the world, Green Tourism has always been a leader in making it easy for businesses and travellers to make a difference. Green Tourism has remained one of the most sought after eco-labels because each member receives a one-on-one assessment and expert advice from a trained sustainability assessor who reviews everything from energy efficiency to food sources.

Visit the Members-Only section of TIABC’s website  to view more information on the program and retrieve the code for the $100 discount on annual program fees.
(reproduced from TIABC November newsletter)

Turning the Corner: Annual Report Targets Sustained Tourism Growth in Canada

TIACNovember 2016: the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and HLT Advisory (HLT) released the 2016 Annual Report on Canadian Tourism. Focusing on the potential opportunity to target American travellers, this fifth annual collaboration reviews the parameters powering global industry growth in contrast to the perennial factors constraining Canadian performance.
Insights from the Report include:

  • The correlation of marketing funding and positive results when targeting foreign markets
  • Canada’s declining competitiveness in global visitor rankings
  • What factors underlie 2016 performance and the highest number of foreign visitors during a summer season
  • Factors constraining travel, notably costs, including non-recoverable taxes on travel and tourism

“As 2016 comes to a close, tourism boasts the highest overseas results ever for the summer season and strong returns on targeted US market campaigns. The industry welcomes these successes with caution as increased volume does not compensate for lagging market share and policies undermining Canada’s global competitiveness, “stated TIAC President and CEO Charlotte Bell.

“Given the momentum and the growth goals outlined for 2022, Tourism’s path to success hangs on federal government measures addressing the burden of fees, taxes and levies, air travel and consistent marketing funding to secure the industry’s role as a job creator and key contributor to Canada’s economy” Bell added.

“Since 2012, Canadian tourism has undergone significant change, as have the political, economic and regulatory parameters within which Canadian and international tourism operate,” said Lyle Hall, managing Director of HLT Advisory. “Following robust growth in 2015, Canada’s tourism industry continues to post impressive, double-digit, increases in international visitation through 2016.”

“With Canada’s 150th birthday fast approaching, 2017 may spark widespread industry celebration, however, the challenges and opportunities identified throughout this 2016 report need to be addressed in a timely manner to build on our recent successes.”


Destination Canada News

Dest Canada tourism snapshot oct 2016International arrivals from overseas markets are up 21%. Germany is taking the lead in our European markets, noting a 32% increase over 2015 and a new peak for October. For more statistics on our key markets, take a look at our October infographic.

For market insights and opportunities, click here.

Government takes first steps to improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The federal Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and go2_NoTag_4cCitizenship, and Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program on Dec. 13, 2016.

One major change will be that the four-year cumulative duration rule will no longer apply, effective immediately. Currently, this rule makes temporary foreign workers ineligible to work for four years after their initial four in Canada. The Government will also continue to develop pathways for temporary foreign workers to gain access to permanent residency.

Another change involves requiring low-wage employers to advertise to more than one under-represented groups in the workforce. Effective date is not yet determined.  For more information, please visit the government release.

Whistle While You Work: A Psychologically Supported Workforce is Good for the Bottom Line

go2_NoTag_4cMost people spend more time at work than anywhere else. If work is a place where employees feel physically and psychologically safe and supported, that’s not such a bad thing.

Unfortunately that’s not always the case.  The Mental Health Commission of Canada states that 70% of Canadian workers are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace; 14% don’t believe their workplace is mentally healthy at all.

In fact, mental disorders—defined by the Workers Compensation Act as caused by traumatic events, cumulative work-related stress, or bullying and harassment—are one of the fastest growing categories of disability costs.

The statistics say it all:

  • On any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians will not go to work because of mental illness, mostly anxiety or depression.
  • More than 30% of disability claims and 70% of disability costs are attributed to mental illness.
  • Approximately $51 billion each year is lost to the Canadian economy because of mental illness.

The tourism industry isn’t exempt. WorkSafeBC stats show that from 2012 to 2016, of the 10,617 mental health disorder claims filed in BC, 852 were from the accommodation, food and leisure sector.

Part of the problem, say experts, is that, historically, occupational health and safety programs have focused mainly on physical health. Yet research shows there are clear benefits to paying attention to both physical and mental health. Employees who feel psychologically supported are more committed to their jobs, more satisfied and productive, and more likely to stay with the company. On the flip side, those who feel unsupported are more apt to call in sick, perform at lower levels, or quit—all at cost to the bottom line.

So what can employers do to promote psychological safety? They can start by evaluating their approach to mental health with the following questions:

  1. Are supports in place to address mental stress before it turns into distress?
  2. Do certain staff members have the training to recognize and respond to early signs of mental disorders?
  3. Do some workplace practices pose risks to psychological health? Do some support it? The goal is to minimize the risks and strengthen the supports.
  4. Is there an Employee and Family Assistance Program in place and are employees aware of it?

Then there are plenty of free online resources to help employers develop and implement a psychological health program step-by-step:

  • The Mental Health Commission of Canada offers a range of materials related to workplace mental health, including:
  1. A National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and an implementation guide
  2. Mental Health First Aid training geared to workers who are responsible for first aid
  3. Free monthly webinars on workplace mental health promotion
  • Guarding Minds @ Work is an evidence-based resource that provides tools for supporting workplace mental health based on 13 key performance measures.
  •  The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website offers a Workplace Mental Health and Safety Management System, with videos, slide presentations and other materials to help plan, implement and evaluate it.
  1. You can also contact your local Canadian Mental Health Association office for assistance. Contact information for each office is provided on the website.