After separating from the chamber

Tourism Tofino splits from Chamber

The organizations proved breaking up isn’t so hard to do as their membership supported the split with a decisive 28-1 vote on July 25.

Local stakeholders are hoping separation leads to success in Tofino.

Tourism Tofino and the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce officially divorced on July 25 meaning Tourism Tofino is now an independent body rather than an arm of the chamber.

The organizations proved breaking up isn’t so hard to do as their membership supported the split with a decisive 28-1 vote on July 25.

The chair of Tourism Tofino’s board J.J. Belanger told the Westerly that both organizations took their time reaching out to their membership and formed a joint-task force to ensure everyone understood the ramifications of the move.

“It was an uphill battle. We had a lot of people that had a lot of questions but we were able to answer those questions and move forward in a very positive way,” he said.

“Those people that were on the task force sang from the same song sheet and it did a lot of good and we were able to convince some people who were definitely on the fence to understand the reasons behind it and why we needed to do this to move forward and it was very successful and it remains a very amicable relationship.”

He said with the vote now in the past, both organizations can focus on the future.

“It will allow us to be more laser focused on what we do at Tourism Tofino as well as at the chamber,” he said. “A lot of our time in the past year has been tied up with talking about this and now that this is behind us we can both move forward. We can achieve our goals together as a united front for not only tourism but business in Tofino.”

He assured both organizations will continue working closely together.

“We need to support them in everything that they do and we know that they’re very supportive of us and the direction were going,” he said. “This was probably the best thing that could have happened to both organizations and we will, together, remain strong moving forward so that is exciting.”

The separation brings Tourism Tofino one step closer towards obtaining a new visitor centre for Cox Bay as Belanger explained it could not own any assets as an arm of the chamber. He said a new centre is needed.

“The one right now is not doing what it needs to do to service our guests that come to the community,” he said.

To pay for a new visitors centre, Tourism Tofino is proposing increasing Tofino’s additional hotel room tax—now known at the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT)—from 2 per cent to 3 per cent.

The MRDT is collected by Tofino’s fixed room accommodation providers and charged to anyone who purchases short term accommodations in Tofino. Belanger suggested that, at the end of the next five-year term, the plan is to have the new visitors centre paid off and the tax brought back down to 2 per cent. In order to increase the tax, Tourism Tofino needed signed support from a majority of the town’s fixed roof accommodation providers and had secured 70 per cent by last Thursday, according to Belanger.

He added splitting up from the chamber will allow Tourism Tofino to access additional funding opportunities.

“The organization will be more able to secure non-MRDT fund granting for the future and also tax credits that we currently cannot do as a division of the chamber,” he said. “Overall it’s going to be better for the membership and it’s going to be better for the visitors.”

Membership to the chamber remains mandatory for anyone wishing to participate in Tourism Tofino’s promotional activities and there will continue to be one membership fee to be part of both organizations, according to the chamber’s executive director Jen Dart.

Dart told the Westerly News in an email that the busy summer season was not an ideal time to hold the vote but it could not wait for the fall because Tourism Tofino must submit their next five-year business plan to the provincial government by Sept. 1.

She said the chamber worked with Tourism Tofino internally during the months leading up to the vote to ensure any potential breakup up would not result in any decrease in service.

“We were mainly concerned with maintaining services for our members and we came to an agreement that guarantees the same level of service and representation for our members from Tourism Tofino,” she said.

“We are confident that Tourism Tofino can now move forward as its own entity to accomplish its goals of rebuilding the Cox Bay Visitor’s Centre, owning assets such as Chestervan, and continuing to represent Tofino to the world.”

Chestervan is a 1966 Volkswagen Microbus Deluxe that serves as Tourism Tofino’s mobile visitor centre.

 

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

Just Posted

Tofino-Ucluelet students host first-ever Surfrider Youth Conference

“When you have 100 plus people all together in one room, you can feel the energy.”

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis girls heading to Provincials

Ahousaht school’s boys team earns Most Sportsmanlike recognition at tournament.

Tofino and Ucluelet revise single-use plastics bans after Victoria loses appeal

West Coast updating plastic bans to protect themselves from the Canadian Plastic Bag Association

Ucluelet resident sounds alarm over ‘environmental disaster’

Central Westcoast Forest Society estimates bridge project at Hyphocus Island could cost $1M.

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis senior teams take on the Island Championships

Senior girls play at Duncan Christian and senior boys at Nanaimo Christian this weekend.

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Blockade reroutes traffic on Pat Bay Highway

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read