EDITORIAL: Renewed spirit to Victoria’s tourism

Festivals of all kinds bringing visitors to the region

After lacklustre years of fewer visitors and declining revenues, Victoria’s tourism industry is finally turning the corner.

Having picture-perfect weather through July always helps, but take a walk downtown on virtually any weekend and the streets are packed with cruise ship passengers and locals taking in a continuous array of public festivals, restaurants and street food.

Successful events like the Highland Games, Canada Day concerts, Northwest Deuce Days, the Buskers Festival, the Moss Street Paint-In, the Street Food Festival, and further afield, Rock the Shores and the University of Victoria’s Congress conference have driven a renewed vibrancy to the city, and drawn huge crowds.

The beloved Symphony Splash and popular standbys like Beer Fest and Rifflandia are yet to come.

Tourism Victoria may have some creative advertising in Vancouver and Washington State, but the long lineup of festivals and events seems less a co-ordinated plan and more a perfect storm of an improving economy meeting an especially active year for the city, wrapped in warm, sunny weather.

These kind of downtown events and festivals that get people out on the streets and into pubs and restaurants is exactly what Victoria needs.

The city has worked hard to rejuvenate its image from a somewhat staid British outpost to a place where people can explore and have fun in the urban core, suburban neighbourhoods or regional parks.

Assuming the anecdotal boost in activity matches the statistics, this could be a renewal year for what was once a mainstay industry in the city. Victoria suffered from steep declines in tourism numbers and spending since 2008, and which has either remained flat or edged up slowly into 2012. Hotel occupancy rates, and the number of cars on the ferries between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen have taken a beating since 2007.

But as signalled by steadily improving cruise ship numbers, our southern neighbours are starting to travel abroad in greater numbers again, good news for a sector that provides jobs for thousands of Greater Victorians.

Just Posted

Victoria city councillors advocate for better measures to reduce sexual violence in downtown bars

A motion coming to council this week asks for more action from liquor establishments

Downtown Victoria businesses cite parking issues as top challenge

A report put forward by the Downtown Victoria Business Association asked owners for input

Pair of Saanich fires, including one that resulted in a death, remain under investigation

Saanich Fire expect to wrap up investigation into Richmond Road Tuesday

Wind gusts turn away cruise ships from Victoria harbour

Weather conditions make docking difficult for large ships

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read