Tourism rebounding in Victoria

City's hotel occupancy rates increase by five per cent

The Victoria tourism industry showed signs of recovery this summer – the first real signs since the 2008 recession, say tourism officials.

Average hotel occupancy in Victoria increased by 4.76 per cent from July 2013 compared to July 2014.

This was the highest accommodation occupancy rate in the last decade, according to Chemistry Business and Human Resource Consulting.

The Royal B.C. Museum attracted many visitors from Canada and the United States with its Vikings exhibit. While the museum knew the exhibit would be popular due to online surveys and previous discussions with guests, the Vikings display exceeded expectations.

“We are running eight per cent ahead of target,” said Sandy Pratt, executive financial officer.

She credits this to the Vikings exhibit being the museum’s most popular since the recession.

“It’s something of interest to a lot of different people,” said Pratt.

Pratt said the museum reached out more with its marketing this year into Alberta and Washington State than in previous years, and it has paid off.

There have been more visitors from outside B.C. this year, said Pratt, adding in the past few years the majority have been from B.C.

According to Pratt, the museum targeted 185,000 guests from May until November, the length of the Vikings exhibit, but now believes there will be closer to 200,000 people.

“That is up from what we have seen over the last several years.”

Comparatively, the popular dinosaur exhibit from 2012 drew 170,000 to 180,000 guests, said Pratt.

After the success of Vikings, she added the museum will continue to bring in exhibits that will hopefully bring in as many if not more visitors.

“We’re trying to create something that’s very exciting and interesting for everyone,” said Pratt.

The Prince of Whales whale watching company in Victoria has also had a busy summer. Ben Duthie, sales and operations manager, said there has been at least a couple per cent more visitors this year compared to last year.

“There has been a rise in American travellers coming over with the dollar being stronger,” said Duthie.

A good start also set the stage for the rest of the summer.

“We were graced by early sightings of killer whales, [which] created buzz for the remainder of the season,” said Duthie. “We were lucky enough to have consistent sightings for the whole summer.”

Weather is also a big deciding factor for visitors wanting to go whale watching, said Duthie. Luckily for him, the sun was shining more than usual in Victoria.

On average in July, there are 321.1 hours of sunshine in Victoria, according to Chemistry Business and Human Resource Consulting. However, this July shone brighter with 354.8 hours of sunshine and 13.7 millimetres less rain than average.

2013 was the first recovery year for tourism in Victoria since the recession, said Paul Nursey, CEO of Tourism Victoria.

Nursey said consumer confidence is increasing and he is hoping for even more growth in tourism next year.

“Now that we’re recovering, we’re in a good place for investment,” said Nursey, adding it is important for investment to occur in hotels and restaurants, for example.

“In 2014 we built on that,” he said. “We need to keep working hard.”

 

Just Posted

Graduating students at Esquimalt Secondary School will have a rolling grad ceremony this Saturday (June 19). (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt High School’s graduation a driving experience

Second annual car rally and drive-through diploma pickup on tap for Saturday

Wanted man Michael Bruce was arrested Wednesday in Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP find wanted man hiding under mattress

Michael Bruce had multiple warrants out for his arrest in Sooke and the West Shore

Brian Korzenowski rides with Athena, left, and Venus who are safely strapped in and goggled up with the wind in their fur. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to Sooke Road commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

A lift on marine border restrictions by next summer would bring an economic gain to Greater Victoria through the cruise industry. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich calls for opening of marine borders by summer 2022

Council to ask feds to end restrictions in time to allow planning for next cruise ship season

There were 255 babies born in Victoria in May 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic baby boom makes for a busier Vancouver Island Father’s Day

Victoria’s 255 babies born in May up almost 10 per cent over last year

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

Most Read