Tofino’s beaches are a key draw for tourists. (Westerly File Photo)

Tofino’s beaches are a key draw for tourists. (Westerly File Photo)

UPDATED: Tourism Tofino says town’s visitation generates $240 million annually

Economic impact and visitation study conducted by InterVISTAS Consulting Inc.

Tofino’s tourism industry generates $240 million of economic impact, according to the town’s destination marketing organization Tourism Tofino.

Tourism Tofino announced the staggering figure in a media release on Tuesday that explained an economic impact and visitation study conducted by InterVISTAS Consulting Inc. found that tourism supports 2,670 direct jobs—1,720 full-time equivalent jobs—generating $60 million in annual wages.

The release adds that Tofino hosted an estimated 600,000 visitors in 2018 and that local businesses serving those visitors contribute over $57 million in municipal, provincial and federal tax revenues.

“This comprehensive and robust study verifies the vital role that tourism plays in sustaining our community, delivering revenue to fund and support infrastructure and services, and contributing to the quality of life we enjoy as residents,” said Tourism Tofino chair J.J. Belanger. “An additional takeaway is the finding that the jobs created and supported by Tofino’s visitors and our tourism operators extend well beyond tourism and reach all sectors of our local and regional economy.”

Through the release, Tourism Tofino said it commissioned the study in an effort to “provide the community with data to shape responsible tourism decision-making, carefully protecting a sustainable future while supporting the livelihoods of residents and Tofino’s overall economic health.”

The 10-month project collected information through surveys at tourism-related businesses as well as the visitors themselves while also drawing on its own visitation statistics and information provided by the District of Tofino, Destination British Columbia and Destination Canada.

“The study provides us all with much greater precision on the levels of visitation and business experienced throughout the year in Tofino,” said Tourism Tofino’s executive director Nancy Cameron. “This research significantly deepens our understanding of the economic and community benefits derived from tourism, yet allows us to take stock of our current state and responsibly create our future together with local government and residents.”

Tofino mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News that, “Having accurate data about the value of this industry to the region’s economy is super informative and valuable for us as council and the district of Tofino to have,” and suggested the data could be a significant lobbying tool for infrastructure funding from the provincial and federal governments.

“Tofino really punches above its weight class when it comes to tourism in B.C. You can easily see that the amount of taxes we contribute back to senior levels of government, the amount of wages, the value of the economy as a whole and all the spending that is happening, especially if you look at a per capita basis, is far higher in Tofino than it is in almost every other community in B.C.,” she said.

“We are contributing a lot back to [the provincial and federal] governments through taxes and, in return, as a very small community, it’s a struggle to meet the infrastructure needs and demands for such high visitation and we can only be successful if we have really strong partnerships with senior levels of government.”

She cited the district’s proposed $55 million wastewater treatment plan as a local infrastructure project in need of funding support.

“It’s something we all know is the right thing to do but it’s a hard pill to swallow when you look at what it’s going to cost per capita…Because we’re supporting visitors, and we want to support visitors. I think we have a good case to make for extra help,” she said. “Local governments across Canada support well over half of the infrastructure load that Canadians depend on, yet we only collect 8-9 per cent of the tax revenue that all governments collect.”

READ MORE: Tofino pursues $40 million grant for sewage treatment

She added that important conversations are on the horizon around how much room Tofino has left for sustainable growth in tourism.

“Not only in a physical sense with our infrastructure, but also the environment and then people, community. We don’t want to compromise the community values that we have and we don’t want to compromise the environment that we depend on to attract visitors and have them be awed and wowed and inspired by everything that’s here,” she said. “We want the people who live here and operate businesses to be as successful as possible. So, I think, we all accept that there’s no desire for growth in the summertime, but that a little bit more in the shoulder season is something that, if done responsibly and done well, we can accommodate.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Vancouver Island’s Long Beach named one of world’s best

READ MORE:Tofino and Ucluelet are popular spots for weddings and proposals

READ MORE: Tourist claims Tofino’s beaches have ‘gone to the dogs’



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Janice and Martin Green are grateful for their town’s community paramedicine program. (Photo courtesy of Janice Green)
Community paramedicine program a lifesaver in Tofino-Ucluelet

“It makes us feel more comfortable here knowing that we do have emergency services that kick in.”

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
POLL QUESTION: Would you like to see stricter enforcement towards illegal camping?

Would you like to see stricter enforcement towards illegal camping? READ MORE:… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read