The town was busy for locals and visitors during recent Ukee Days celebrations

Ucluelet tourism efforts paying off

“We have one of the highest engaged Facebook pages for tourism in Canada,” says Denise Stys-Norman.

John Harding

john.harding@pqbnews.com

 

This busy summer tourism season in Ukee is a continuation of a red-hot start to 2016, said the executive director of Tourism Ucluelet.

Marketing efforts by local businesses, wide-reaching media reports, a social media strategy that’s working, the relative strength of the U.S. dollar and the increasing popularity of the Wild Pacific Trail are just some of the factors boosting the number of tourists visiting the district, says Denise Stys-Norman.

“Ucluelet is starting to become an area that’s more recognized and that’s been building over the years,” she said.

Revenues for Tourism Ucluelet – derived from a two per cent hotel room tax – were up 21 per cent in the first four months of 2016 when compared to the same months of 2015. The great weather the district has enjoyed this summer hasn’t hurt either, said Stys-Norman, who also pointed to the success of social media efforts.

“The last year we worked quite hard on our social media.” she said. “We have one of the highest engaged Facebook pages for tourism in Canada.”

Attractions like the Ucluelet Aquarium and the Wild Pacific Trail are starting to get wide attention too.

“The Wild Pacific Trail has really positioned itself as a must-see in B.C.,” said Stys-Norman. “That’s put a lot of eyes on Ucluelet. And the aquarium is phenomenal, a draw in its own right.”

Tourism Ucluelet concentrates its efforts on outward marketing, i.e. reaching out to potential visitors in their home cities and towns. The local chamber of commerce is responsible for the visitors’ centres in the district. Local businesses do their own marketing too, explained Stys-Norman.

The region has a special visitor this week – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family – and even if they aren’t staying overnight in Ucluelet, the district could see experience some positive exposure from the visit, “as long as they are enjoying the West Coast,” said Stys-Norman.

August may be winding to close and a new school year just on the horizon, but the events in the district are by no means slowing down.

The popular Otalith Music Festival is scheduled for Aug. 19-20 (visit otalithfestival.com for details) and the Cultural Heritage Festival Aug. 28 through Sept. 4 has a special theme this year: Emily Carr’s West Coast (visit pacificrimarts.ca).