The beach at Yellow Point Lodge in Nanaimo. Vancouver Island was named the best island in Canada by Travel and Leisure Magazine for 2017. (NEWS BULLETIN file)

The beach at Yellow Point Lodge in Nanaimo. Vancouver Island was named the best island in Canada by Travel and Leisure Magazine for 2017. (NEWS BULLETIN file)

Vancouver Island named best island in Canada

Tourism numbers appear strong in Nanaimo and on Vancouver Island

You don’t have to go far to find the best island in Canada.

Vancouver Island was named the best island in Canada in 2017 by Travel and Leisure Magazine’s annual World’s Best Awards.

The results are determined by readers, who vote on the best islands, cities, hotels, airports and places throughout the world. Vancouver Island beat out the Gulf Islands and Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia while Palawan, an island in the Philippines was named the world’s best island.

Dave Petryk, president of Tourism Vancouver Island, said it’s a huge honour to win the award, adding that the fact that Travel and Leisure’s awards are done by readers’ choice makes it all the more special.

“There is no tie to purchased advertising,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we’ve never purchased advertising in that magazine because it is way out of our range. Of course, that type of editorial speaks way better than paid advertising anyway.”

Petryk said what makes Vancouver Island so special is its outdoors recreational opportunities, such as surfing, hiking, biking and whale and bear watching combined with its incredible views and stunning beauty.

“When people travel across the ocean to a place such as Vancouver Island, they really feel like they have gotten away from it all,” he said. “It’s really a destination.”

Petryk said tourism for the busy summer season on the Island appears to be “very” strong, adding that Nanaimo has had a great year from a tourism perspective.

“Nanaimo has been strong this year,” he said. “It’s strong presently and rooms on books, from what I understand from accommodators, are all up over last year. It’s looking to be a really good summer season for Nanaimo.”

However, Petryk said he’s watching closely to see if there is any impact the wildfires across the province might have on tourism on Vancouver Island.

“There is some concern with the amount of media that is talking about British Columbia’s wildfires situation and a lot of consumers will just assume that is provincewide,” he said. “That may very well have an impact on us in the not-too-distant future. We haven’t seen it yet but we are watching for that.”

nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com