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Tourism Victoria eyes higher numbers in 2015

Tourists enjoy a carriage ride along Dallas Road. - File photo by Sharon Tiffin
Tourists enjoy a carriage ride along Dallas Road.
— image credit: File photo by Sharon Tiffin

More than two million tourists are expected to visit the region this year, but Tourism Victoria is already casting its eyes on the future.

Tourist numbers have been encouraging through spring, buoyed by a strong cruise ship season, and as July arrives, tourists from throughout the Pacific Northwest and other locales are expected to arrive in near record numbers.

“We're seeing some encouraging results from the short and longterm,” said Paul Nursey, Tourism Victoria's CEO and president.

“What we're doing now is setting up very strongly for 2015 – to grow and diversify the business.”

Recently, Tourism Victoria announced a restructuring that put a greater emphasis on core business areas including sales and marketing, business development, member services and visitor services. There was also some staff restructuring.

“Tourism Victoria is foremost a sales and marketing organization and all business decisions must keep this filter in mind,” Nursey said.

“We are focused on generating demand for this destination. Our membership is growing and the tourism-related business community is responding well to what we offer.”

Tourism Victoria operates on a $4.5-million budget and has more than 1,000 members.

Overall, tourism is an easy sell in Victoria, Nursey said, but it is sometimes taken for granted.

The industry recently went through several years of economic downturn but now looks as if it is returning to historical numbers.

The challenge now, Nursey said, is to convince tourism operators to reinvest in the product to keep tourists returning.

“(Victoria's) a fantastic destination,” he said. “We just need to give it a strong push.”

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin likes the approach Tourism Victoria is taking both in its approach to the market and in the increase in the number of visitors to the capital city.

“I like the fact this organization is industry led and the model is proving successful. Can it improve? Sure. It can always get better,” Fortin said.

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