'We're just blown away': Nanaimo finds success with new tourism campaign
NANAIMO -- Like many communities on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is doing its best to draw visitors back to local hotels and restaurants.
The Nanaimo Hospitality Association has come up with a campaign to convince tourists that their trips will be safe and is running a series of contests to entice visitors – a campaign the association says is working.
"We're just blown away that we're pulling the numbers that the hotels are," said Nanaimo Hospitality Association executive director Dan Brady.
"We're just really impressed when you consider there's no sports business, there's no group tour business, no corporate business and no government business," he said.
Brady says tourism operators got together back in April and May to plan how the industry would recover once the province switched to Phase 3 of its restart plan.
"We're clean, we're sanitized, we're following all the protocols and why not make Nanaimo your base?" Brady said.
The association is both promoting local attractions and the concept of people staying in Nanaimo while planning day trips to other areas, like western Vancouver Island.
Using the city as a jumping-off point for other island trips has been beneficial to the Coast Bastion Hotel, according to general manager David McQuinn.
"So many of our citizens of British Columbia and even Alberta are seeking the Tofino adventure like never before," said McQuinn.
He credits the association's campaign as helping the hotel make it through an extremely soft season.
"We've definitely seen a three-week surge. (It’s) nowhere close to what was, but I would argue – outside of the Okanagan – we're probably performing as strong as any hotel in the coast chain," he said.
The association has offered visitors the chance to win four trips to Nanaimo, which includes accommodations, dinners and access to attractions. Details about the contests are available through the Tourism Nanaimo Instagram account.