The visitor centre for the Comox Valley. Photo by Mike Chouinard

The visitor centre for the Comox Valley. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Tourism group marks new relationship with Comox Valley

“We believe in the regional model for the Comox Valley … everybody should be working together.”

It’s been a tough year for the tourism business.

The organization that oversees the sector in the region is optimistic though about its new relationship with the Comox Valley.

Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) had the chance to introduce itself to one of the local municipal governments at a recent meeting. The organization was announced as the new operator for the visitor centre in the Comox Valley earlier this year. The centre had been run by the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS), and the change includes some staff shifting over to TVI in the centre.

RELATED STORY: Tourism Vancouver Island taking over management of Vancouver Island Visitor Centre

Tourism Vancouver Island CEO Anthony Everett and its head of marketing, Karen Bannister, provided an overview of the organization via Zoom to Cumberland’s council. The organization is based out of Nanaimo and has been running for about 60 years.

“We work with communities such as yours up and down the island,” Everett said. “We believe in the regional model for the Comox Valley, and we think everybody should be working together.”

This includes collaborating with Indigenous communities on the island, he said, adding they have an Indigenous specialist on their team, with another joining soon. He elaborated on some of the core values for the organization such as partnerships and flexibility in meeting local businesses’ needs and challenges, especially in the tourism sector during this last year of COVID.

“It is geared towards helping businesses through this pandemic,” he said.

Its funders include Western Economic Diversification Canada, the provincial government and the Island Coastal Economic Trust.

Bannister elaborated further on the importance of helping businesses.

“Without them, there is no tourism,” she said.

She elaborated on sustainability, another of its core values, and said Cumberland, with its popular trail systems, is already aware of the importance of sustainable tourism. One of the issues during the discussion was the heavy traffic on local trails last summer as people visited from around the region.

Some of the projects for TVI include increasing tourism’s profile through social media and putting staff through the Destination BC visitor service training program. Upcoming work includes a stakeholder survey and a Discover the Comox Valley guide.

Cumberland has been working on economic development on its own, outside of CVEDS, which was covering the rest of the region. The regional district though has announced it will be going in a different direction from CVEDS later this year.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Regional District board votes to terminate CVEDS contract

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Regional District’s CVEDS split leaves questions for some

With Cumberland working on its own, there was some question among council members about whether it would cost them to be involved with TVI because the village has not been part of CVEDS’ contract. Everett responded that there would be no cost to take advantage of the organization’s work.

“This is really a positive change for us,” Coun. Vickey Brown said. “I think it’ll go a long way to helping bring the three communities and the outlying areas together in a common destination marketing strategy.”

Everett had one request, which was for all parties to work together, beyond the politicization of tourism.

“We just need to start it on the right path,” he said.

Mayor Leslie Baird was pleased the presenters included pictures of Cumberland, noting that Bannister had already been working with the village’s economic development officer.

“I’m absolutely amazed at the amount of work you’ve done in three months,” she said. “I look forward to working with you.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Comox ValleyCumberlandTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Volunteers sort through bottles and cans during Saturday's fundraiser for hospice. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley hospice holds drive-through bottle drive

Bike team is fundraising for the annual Cycle of Life tour on Vancouver Island

The Village of Cumberland is applying for a UBCM grant to help streamline development application processes. Black Press file photo
Cumberland looks to streamline development

“This looks like the best thing we’ve ever applied for.”

Security camera image of 7-Eleven robbery suspect. Photo supplied.
Late-night Courtenay robbery results in 500-plus days in jail

Heatley’s sentence also includes probation, DNA order, firearms ban

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read