Vancouver Island is a tourism hotspot, but recent travel restrictions means only locals can enjoy all the Island has to offer.

To give non-Islanders a warm welcome back when the time comes – and to beef up the region’s tourism sector – five new destination and tourism developments currently underway are getting some extra funding from the Province, as part of its ‘Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative.’

The goal is to ramp up employment opportunities, attract new businesses, and increase economic diversification within communities.

Melanie Mark is B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, and she says recovery from the pandemic for businesses and people in the tourism sector is “critically important.”

She notes these funds will help create new tourism infrastructure, “which will help the sector recover, create local jobs and spur economic development.”

Tourism Vancouver Island – in partnership with community-destination management organizations, local and regional governments, First Nations, nonprofits, and other partners – have worked together to find initiatives that will enhance the region’s tourism amenities and experiences.

This includes revitalizing downtown cores to entice visitors, cleaning up shores with marine waste collectors, building a world-class mountain biking destination, and creating awareness of territorial recognition for Indigenous communities.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Adam Walker says these projects will have huge benefits for not only the tourism industry, but also locals and visitors to the Island: “Beyond creating jobs and supporting a strong pandemic recovery, these investments will make it easier to travel around the Island to see all of its beauty.”

The Province is funding projects in all six of B.C.’s tourism regions, but the Island specifically will see a total of $2.3 million in funds.

The ‘Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative’ is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC, and officials note approved projects must be completed by March 2023.