EDITORIAL: Tourism should showcase region

The Little Red Hen can teach us a lesson

“Who will help me plant the seed?” asks The Little Red Hen in the old Russian folk tale.

As she plants the seed, mills the wheat and bakes the bread, she asks her fellow farm dwellers, “Who will lend a hand?”

“Not I,” comes the reply – until it’s time to eat.

Not I, seems to be the attitude of several Greater Victoria municipalities when it comes to paying their share of Tourism Victoria’s marketing budget.

Sure, they’ll take the spin-off from the $2-million or so spent on luring tourists to the city, but participate in the funding: “Not I.”

Langford Mayor Stew Young likely speaks for many of the outlying municipalities when he says they would see no benefit from sharing the wealth.

A quick trip to Tourism Victoria’s website seems to prove him right. Other than the obligatory nod to landmark Butchart Gardens, which pays on its own to be a member of the organization, while Central Saanich, the municipality in which it sits does not, it takes a bit of hunting to find the mere mention of Langford, Sidney or Sooke.

It’s arguable that many people who come to Victoria never venture outside the city limits and many that do, hop on a bus to Butchart Gardens and return to town without a chance to visit a Saanich Peninsula winery or farm stand, let alone cycle along the Galloping Goose or swim in the Sooke Potholes.

Greater Victoria’s tourism strategy is a bad one. As it stands, it’s yet another fine example of how 13 separate fiefdoms stand in the way of enhancing the whole.

Those who only preview our area through Tourism Victoria’s eyes will see a place too small to keep their interest for more than a few days. They may never know they can surf in Sooke, go to a national historic site at Fort Rodd Hill or visit an aquarium in Sidney.

The moral of The Little Red Hen teaches us if we don’t put in the work, we shouldn’t reap the reward.

The region needs to come up with a strategy to increase tourism across Greater Victoria. Having a unified strategy for marketing the entire Capital Region is a necessity if we really want to attract tourists who stay and take in all we have to offer.