Of all the industries affected by the pandemic, the tourism industry has been particularly hard hit.
Now that life is starting to return to normal and people are starting to travel again, 4VI (formerly Vancouver Tourism Island) and Destination Comox Valley are seeing a significant uptick in activity.
Anthony Everett, President and CEO of 4VI, is optimistic.
“This summer season is going to be busy, busy – in fact, I think most of the Comox Valley (accommodation) is sold out, so it will be very crowded,” he said. “There are so many great festivals in the area and they’re all coming back (live) and the challenge for anyone coming to Vancouver Island will be to find a place to stay.”
Some of the big events to take place in the Comox Valley include the British Columbia Seafood Festival on June 3-4; Vancouver Island Music Festival, July 8-10; Filberg Festival, July 29-31; and Marine Days, July 30 – Aug. one.
Everett expects the entire summer to be like August 2021.
“Last August we saw some of the highest visits the island has ever seen and it continues. Almost all parts of the island are fully booked.”
Festivals aside, Vancouver Island is world famous for its activities, from deep sea fishing, kayaking and snorkeling to whale watching and adventure tours. Everett expects summer 2022 to be a big season for these operators.
“The real hope is that the service providers that have really been hit the hardest…the pandemic has hit them hard over the last couple of years – the hope is that with the return of foreign visitors, they will get bookings,” he said. Everett. “But again, if anyone comes, we encourage everyone to pre-order. You must have a plan in place before you arrive, and if you don’t already have one, you may not be lucky with your booking.
“Last summer was the start of that and I think we’re going to see a really busy time. There is a long list of festivals, but I’m sure it will be difficult to find a place in the height of summer.”
Also, with Mount Washington offering a full range of summer activities (mountain biking, zip-lining, hiking trails), Comox Valley is always a preferred destination for Vancouver Island hikers.
“Hiking and mountains are always popular – Mount Washington and Strathcona Park – and with Comox Valley, you also have great access to the ocean and all those wonderful beaches. The islands – Denman and Hornby – are always great attractions. Breweries are also popular; you have more breweries there for…