Getting them here is only half the battle.
Making sure tourists get the most out of their Ucluetian vacations, and convincing them to return, is now Tourism Ucluelet’s responsibility.
Ucluelet’s Chamber of Commerce has handled the district’s visitor services since 2004 but the district announced on Monday that it is putting that portfolio under Tourism Ucluelet’s umbrella.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Chamber for all their hard work over the years in operating visitor services. It is no small endeavour, and to run both a Chamber and this contract is a testament to those tireless and hard-working board members,” said Ucluelet mayor Dianne St. Jacques through a Nov. 28 media release.
“We look forward to building on the Chamber’s work with our new contractor, Tourism Ucluelet, and to continuing our partnerships with both organizations in delivering a supreme quality of service to our community and exceptional experiences to our visitors.”
St. Jacques told the Westerly visitor services is a vital aspect of Ucluelet’s tourism economy.
“It’s a sense of arrival when you get to the Coast,” she said.
“It lets people know all about everything we have to offer, gives them information about where they can eat and where they can stay and that there’s so much to do that they must stay longer or come again.”
She said the move has been discussed for several years, but wasn’t possible until a recent shift in regulations allowed destination marketing organizations like Tourism Ucluelet to put their additional hotel room tax funds towards visitor services.
“Originally, the rules and regulations of the government didn’t allow for the dollars to be used towards visitor services but it has changed,” she said.
“Not that it’s all to be spent on visitors services by any means, but they have that to start with and then I’m sure that they will build other revenues so that the money they get is wisely spent on marketing as well as serving visitors.”
She added Tourism Ucluelet’s hands are more than capable of carrying the ball.
“I’m very confident in the group that we have in place there,” she said. “The board and their staff certainly have done a good job to date and they’ve shown themselves to be very professional. They all love Ucluelet and would like to see our economy grow at a good level so, I think, they’ll do a great job.”
She said Ucluelet is positioned perfectly for the experiences it offers to continue rising in popularity and reputation.
“We’re in the middle of the [Pacific Rim] National Park. We’ve got the Broken Group Islands to the south and the Long Beach Unit to the north,” she said.
“Tourism is a part of our future, there’s no question about it. With the Wild Pacific Trail constantly growing and evolving, the aquarium doing so well, the lighthouse lands coming to the district, educational tourism being something everybody is working on and a really exciting thing, the bike path going through the Park; these are all things that are evolving and growing so we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
Tourism Ucluelet chair Tracy Eeftink is excited about the move.
“All of us at Tourism Ucluelet would like to acknowledge and thank the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce for their outstanding dedication and tireless efforts over the years providing an exceptional experience to all visitors,” she said through Nov. 28’s release.
“Our goal, over the coming months, will be to work closely with the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce and the District of Ucluelet as well as local and regional stakeholders to ensure a seamless and successful transition. We are looking forward to welcoming Visitor Services into our Organization and building on the foundation that was created.”