1.What excites you about the annual State of the Island Economic Summit and what conversation you are most looking forward to having at this year’s Summit?
The Economic Summit is an exciting opportunity for business, First Nation, non-profit and government leaders from across the Vancouver Island Region to come together, share ideas, learn from one another and find unique opportunities to collaborate. This year, I’m most looking forward to learn how other industries impacted by the pandemic have worked to mitigate the impact and to become more resilient.
2. What do you wish other people knew about VIEA and what role do you see VIEA playing in helping to advance the Island region through economic recovery and beyond?
At Tourism Vancouver Island, we wish that more Island based businesses knew about the Island Good program. We have been working closely with VIEA to support this initiative and believe that it’s an excellent opportunity to promote Island based products and businesses to residents and visitors alike.
3. How has the pandemic impacted your business/organization and how have you adapted?
Tourism was perhaps the first hit and most significantly hit of any industry by the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector has been dire and the road to recovery will be long and challenging. Tourism Vancouver Island rapidly adapted all aspects of our organization and programs to better support the needs of businesses. We meet biweekly with tourism leaders to discuss common challenges and to work towards solutions. We created the Tourism Resiliency Program to help businesses navigate these challenging times and we regularly adapt the program to better meet the needs of industry. We launched new research initiatives to track and communicate the impact of the pandemic on tourism businesses and to make pragmatic recommendations to Provincial and Federal policy makers. Last but not least, we made strategic changes to our destination marketing initiatives to encourage respectful visitation of communities and to entice British Columbian’s to explore their own backyard.