GREATER VICTORIA – The Greater Victoria tourism industry enjoyed a banner year in 2018 compared to the past several years. Our hotels and restaurants were full. Our meetings, events and conferences well-attended. Our attractions experienced brisk business. The results this year were the result of executing the strategic direction initiated in 2017. This vision encompassed a greater role for meetings, events and conferences, sports tourism and addressing the seasonality of the business. We also launched our brand refresh. Worldwide the tourism industry changing – and so is our destination. Our brand needs to reflect these changes.
A focus of Destination Greater Victoria and its partners is to build resiliency into the business model. Greater Victoria is traditionally a summer destination. Hotel occupancy in the shoulder seasons and off-season has lagged behind these popular summer months. In 2017, Destination Greater Victoria assumed leadership of the sales and marketing function of the Victoria Conference Centre (VCC), with a focus on filling the VCC in the shoulder seasons and off-season, in turn creating occupancy for hotel partners. The number of delegates at VCC conferences in 2018 surpassed the 2017 numbers in September. These amazing outcomes drove hotel occupancy in the process.
The Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission (GVSTC) was created in April 2018. Led by board chair Robert Bettauer and Executive Director Keith Wells, Destination Greater Victoria’s business will increasingly focus on attracting sporting events to the Greater Victoria region. The GVSTC has already had some early wins, including a winning bid for the 2021 55+ BC Games. There is tremendous opportunity in sport tourism. Greater Victoria has a long history of sporting excellence, whether it is developing world-class athletes or hosting major multi-sport events. The Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission will build on this tradition to bid and win future sporting events in the Greater Victoria region.
Destination Greater Victoria looks forward to another strong year in 2019. It will be hard to eclipse 2018 and the success of many that work in the industry. However, the foundation is in place to market the destination and showcase the many positive attributes of Greater Victoria. In the years ahead, we will only be limited by the size of our vision and ambition.
Paul Nursey is the President and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria