Visitors Welcome Despite Operating Challenges

September 23, 2020
Paul Nursey

Paul Nursey, President and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria

GREATER VICTORIA – In the first week of September Chemistry Consulting released July 2020 Greater Victoria tourism statistics. Chemistry’s bulletin confirmed what we already knew. Several key statistical indicators revealed business was down markedly from 2019. For example, in July 2019 hotel occupancy in Greater Victoria was 85.78 per cent. In July 2020 hotel occupancy was 35.78 per cent.

Average daily room rate in July 2019 was $249.50. In July 2020 average daily room rate was $177.76. In July 2019 revenue per available room (RevPAR) – a key statistical indicator on the health of hotel business – was $214.03. In July 2020 RevPAR was just $63.61. BC Ferries Route 1 (Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay) traffic, as well as Victoria International Airport traffic were also down.

This is a gloomy picture, but this situation is no fault of the people – employers or employees – of the Greater Victoria visitor economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has lasted longer and had a more sustained impact than we could have imagined six months ago. As government officials discouraged travel and closed the Canada-US border to non-essential crossings, the Greater Victoria visitor economy saw what was forecasted to be a healthy year become the worst year in memory.

Many of Destination Greater Victoria’s members have adjusted to COVID-19 guidelines and have bravely reopened. This is especially the case for our bars and restaurants. Attractions such as The Butchart Gardens and WildPlay Adventure Parks are open as well and doing their best through this difficult period. I would like to thank those members.

Despite the difficulty in operating they continue to welcome visitors to our destination. Greater Victoria remains an attractive place to visit. Our proximity to nature and open spaces are key selling propositions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Visitor Centre is seeing steady traffic with clients from source markets such as Vancouver, Alberta and even Ontario.

Destination Greater Victoria continues to take a leadership role advocating on behalf of our members. The hotels, restaurants, attractions, and transportation partners that comprise the Greater Victoria tourism ecosystem are important sources of employment and community identity.

As we continue to work with our members and partners on response, our mind is also very focused on recovery. We are hard at work on creating our business plan for 2021 and a recovery and renewal strategy to guide us through 2026.  As we move into the fall your destination marketing organization will work hard on your behalf.

Paul Nursey is the President and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria

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