KFCN Tourism Businesses Poised For Record 2022

June 18, 2022

Signing Ceremony for the acquisition of West Coast Expeditions Ltd. on April 23 during the Acquisition during the KCFN Group of Businesses Strategic Planning Retreat in Osoyoos. Back row, from left: Gary Wilson, CEO KCFN Group of Businesses; Caroline Fisher, David Pinel, and Beverly Michel, former owners of WCE. Front row, from left: Alex Jules, KCFN member at large; Cynthia Blackstone, CAO, KCFN Gov’t Admin; Tony Hansen, Legislative Chief; Kevin Jules, Legislative Vice Chief, each of whom make up the KCFN Holdings LP Board of Directors and KCFN Economic Development Committee.

CAMPBELL RIVER – The KFCN Group of Businesses has demonstrated its resilience by getting through the Covid pandemic, and is poised for a record year in 2022.

Gary Wilson, CEO and Economic Development Officer for parent company KFCN Management Services  Limited Partnership, states their tourism and hospitality properties within their traditional territory on Kyuquot Sound are already busy, with bookings showing strong increases.

Their operations include Fair Harbour Marina & Campground, a full-service operation offering rental cabins and dry camping, as well as a boat launch and moorage, and activities include camping, fishing, kayaking and surfing. The newly renovated Houpsitas Village Suites offers seven rooms in different styles, and Walters Cove Lodge is an internationally renowned halibut and salmon sport fishing destination featuring five-star dining, which offers round-trip direct flights from Richmond.

Gary Wilson

“Despite COVID and other setbacks, the KCFN Marina and Campground LP, our tourism and hospitality businesses, and our KCFN Forestry Ventures LP are forecasting a record year in 2022,”  Wilson states. “At the height of the pandemic, the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations and KCFN Group of Businesses collaborated with local businesses to established the Area 26 round table in an effort to collaborate on ways and means to get through trying times.

“The roundtable still remains today and includes local and regional stakeholders, primarily tourism and sports fishing operators who had been significantly impacted by the two-plus years of Covid 19 lockdown and restrictions. This collaborative table had definitely enabled the KCFN Group of Businesses to weather the impacts of COVID.”

Wilson is particularly excited about the much-anticipated re-opening of Walters Cove Resort, which closed in 2019, the result of a collaborative business arrangement between Vancouver Island Forest and Marine (VIFM), KCFN Forestry Ventures LP and KCFN Marina & Campground LP.

Gary Wilson participates in a drumming ceremony

“VIFM reached out to us last November to see if we would be interested in utilizing their high-end barge, ‘The Englefield’, originally designed for a floating sports fishing lodge and formerly owned by the Haida Corporation (Haico), for the 2022 sportfishing season,” he recalls. “With support from the KCFN leadership and KCFN Group of Businesses Board, the hard work and determination of our General Manager, Terry Schultz and team at Marina & Campground LP and strong technical support from VIFM representatives, we are excited and pleased that we have in excess of 100% of our sales target and more than 85% occupancy.”

The grand re-opening of Walters Cove Resort is June 21, which is National Indigenous People’s Day, with guests invited including the Provincial Government, Destinations BC, Island Community Economic Trust, Indigenous Tourism BC, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, and media. KCFN Group of Businesses wishes to  celebrate their resilience and what looks to be bright future for the Kyuquot Sound region.

As part of the celebration, their guests will have a choice of three activities: sports fishing, kayaking or paddling a traditional dugout canoe, followed by enjoying traditional barbecue salmon appetizer and  full course dinner, prepared by KCFN’s very own, Ernie Jackson.

Wilson notes that KFCN has also successfully acquired West Coast Expeditions Ltd., a premiere Kayak Eco-adventure tour company that has successfully operated in Kyuquot Sound for 50 years. Former owners, David Pinel, Caroline Fisher and Beverly Michel had agreed to stay on as the management team to allow for a smooth transition heading into the 2022 season, starting in July.

“Due to their marketing and sales efforts in 2021, we have in excess of 90% sales for the coming season,” Wilson states.

KFCN’s traditional territory includes 6,299 hectares west of Gold River, from the Porritt Creek to the Brooks Peninsula. The KCFN Group of Businesses has experienced exponential growth, the best ever since the inception of the companies in 2012, following the signing of the Maa’nulth Treaty in April 2011, and Wilson credits his team and the support and vision of the leadership.

“We are seeing an increase of visitations by upwards of 700% in the last few years,” he adds. “Despite Covid and other challenges, with support from Island Coastal Economic Trust (“ICET”) we have invested just short of $2 million to upgrade Fair Harbour Marina in 2019 with an additional $600,000 – $700,000 of additional upgrades expected this fall to ensure we can serve the growing demand.”




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