Bounce-back summer expected for Comox Valley tourism industry

A family waits to load up onto the Hawk Chair at Mount Washington Bike Park. The bike park is open all summer long at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Photo by Terry FarrellA family waits to load up onto the Hawk Chair at Mount Washington Bike Park. The bike park is open all summer long at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Photo by Terry Farrell
A group of mountain bikers nearing the end of a run at the Mount Washington Bike Park. The bike park is open all summer long at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Photo by Terry FarrellA group of mountain bikers nearing the end of a run at the Mount Washington Bike Park. The bike park is open all summer long at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Photo by Terry Farrell

Of all the industries adversely affected by the pandemic, the tourism industry was hit especially hard.

Now that life is beginning to return to normal, and people are starting to travel again, 4VI (formerly Tourism Vancouver Island) and Destination Comox Valley are seeing a substantial uptick in action.

Anthony Everett, president & CEO of 4VI, is optimistic.

“It’s going to be a busy, busy summer season – actually, I think most of the Comox Valley (accommodations are) sold out, so it will be very busy,” he said. “There are so many wonderful festivals in the area, and all those are coming back (live) and the challenge will be for anyone coming to Vancouver Island, to find a place to stay.”

Some of the major events the Comox Valley will be hosting include the BC SeafoodFestival, June 3-4; Vancouver Island MusicFest, July 8-10; the Filberg Festival, July 29-31; and Nautical Days, July 30-Aug. 1.

Everett expects the entire summer to be similar to August of 2021.

“We saw some of the highest visitations the Island has ever seen in August of last year, and that just continues. Almost all parts of the Island are fully booked.”

In addition to the festivals, Vancouver Island is world renowned for its activities, from deep-sea fishing, kayaking and scuba diving, to whale watching and adventure tours. Everett is anticipating the summer of 2022 to be a banner season for those operators.

“The real hope is that the activity providers, who were really among the hardest hit… the pandemic took a real toll on them the last couple of years – the hope is that with international visitors coming back, they will get the bookings,” said Everett. “But again, with anyone coming, we are encouraging everyone to have a reservation. Before you come, you have to have a plan, and if you don’t have one already, you may be out of luck with bookings.

“Last summer was the start of it, and I think we are going to see a real busy time. There’s a long list of festivals, but I am sure the ones in the peak of the summer, it will be hard to get a room.”

Additionally, with Mount Washington offering a full slate of summer activities (downhill mountain biking, zipline, hiking trails), the Comox Valley is always a preferred destination for Vancouver Island tourists.

“The hiking and the mountains are always popular – Mount Washington and Strathcona Park – and with the Comox Valley, you also have great access to the ocean and all those wonderful beaches. The islands – Denman and Hornby – are always big attractions. The breweries are also popular; you have more breweries there for the size of the community than a lot of places on the Island. So those are all reasons people come. Also, people love those small town experiences, so there’s a nice blend of urban with the small-town feel that you have. And it’s easy to get around in the Comox Valley.

“So the combination of all those things makes the Comox Valley one of the most popular spots on the Island.”

For more information, or to plan a getaway, visit vancouverisland.travel/

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