Victoria’s tourism sector sees boost this season

With Victoria enjoying a warmer than normal summer, the city’s tourism numbers are also red hot.

With Victoria enjoying a warmer than normal summer, the city’s tourism numbers are also red hot.

Paul Nursey, CEO of Tourism Victoria, said Victoria’s tourism industry is enjoying an unusually busy summer.

“We’re pretty much at capacity right now, most of our weekends are sold out. What you are starting to see is hotel rates go up, which is healthy, they’ve been quite low for a number of year. So seeing profitability return to our industry is very healthy,” Nursey said. “We’re having a very solid year.”

According to year-to-date datafor the month of June, hotel room occupancy is up 6.9 per cent, gross revenue is up 13.4 per cent, and the average price of a room has gone up six per cent to $135 with 43,600 more rooms sold this year through June compared to the same time last year.

“Globally, tourism is up 4.4 per cent. As a comparison, [Victoria] is up 6.9 per cent,” added Nursey.

“Within our region, the pacific northwest, North America, it’s becoming a great region to travel to. We see very strong brand awareness through Greater Victoria, we’d had a lot of good media and our advertising campaign have worked really well.”

Nursey added the Canadian exchange rate doesn’t affect travel decisions.

“We are seeing quite broad-based appeal and it’s not just us, Vancouver is doing well, Seattle is doing well, Whistler is doing well. Our industry is doing well and we’re getting more than our fair share,” Nursey said.

Butchart Gardens is also benefitting from the busy tourist season.

Dale Ryan, director of public relations, sales and marketing with Butchart Gardens, said they’ve returned to pre-recession admission levels.

“We’ve seen a consistent build since 2007. Every year we’ve been consistently building back. But this is our strongest year since before the recession,”  said Ryan.

She added the good weather has helped as well.

Whale watching companies such as Orca Spirit Adventures have also seen an increase in business.

“We’ve done our first quarter report so far and things are definitely up about 15 to 20 per cent from last year,” said Oriana Smy with Orca Spirit  Adventures. “For us, there are a few contributing factors, last year we purchased Great Pacific Adventure . . . but our walk-in and cruise ship traffic has increased quite a bit.”