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

Saanich councillor open to more commercial operations in local parks

Coun. Ned Taylor had raised the issue during his election campaign

Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Vehicle found with two deceased occupants inside

Langford’s Sarah Beckett Memorial playground opens

Life of West Shore RCMP Constable honoured with new playground

Greater Victoria gemmologist shines with life-time achievement award

Anthony de Goutière received award from Canadian Gemmological Association

Team Canada set to compete at 2019 Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Rugby Canada’s training centre in Langford prepares athletes for the international stage

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

Most Read