Ucluelet welcomed a tourist boom this summer with visitors arriving in droves to take in the West Coast experience. The Taplin family visited Ucluelet from Vancouver in August and cycled around the local sights.

Ucluelet scores big tourism season

Chamber’s executive director says town bursting at its seams

Considering the town has been consistently packed, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Ucluelet is currently enjoying a bumper crop of tourism.

The Pacific Rim Visitor Centre counted 9,732 tourists in June this year, up from 5,885 in 2014, and 20,403 tourists in July, up from 14,493 in 2014, according to chamber of commerce executive director Sally Mole.

Mole said Ucluelet’s downtown visitor centre has seen more modest, but still significant, increases with 1,099 tourists in June, up from 852 in 2014, and 3,143 in July compared to 2,128 in 2014.

“We’re definitely seeing a big jump,” she beamed.

She said tourism is up across Vancouver Island and suggested a strong American dollar and solid marketing strategies have combined to bring an influx of visitors.

She added Ucluelet has earned a strong reputation as a tourist-friendly community.

“We still maintain that friendly Ucluelet moniker and I think that goes a long way so it’s definitely paid off for us,” she said.

“It’s huge and it has a big impact on people’s impressions…They’re getting that small town community feel, which is a great experience and they love that.”

She touted Ucluelet’s friendly local population as a “key element” to the town’s success.

“This community has really done a great job of putting the welcome mat out there and keeping that shiny happy face on and if we can just maintain that for a few more weeks we’re golden,” she said.

She added the local business community has benefited from the solid turnout but hasn’t had time yet to enjoy the fruits of their efforts.

“We’re at that point of summer where we’re gasping. We’re all really busy but we’re maintaining that shiny happy face and people are working hard and it’s paying off for them,” she said.

“This is crunch time and we’re all pulling together.”

While the increase in guests is welcomed, Mole questioned whether Ucluelet has any room left for more growth.

“It’s exciting but it’s also a little scary. I think we have to look at our capacity. We’ve had times in the last couple of weeks where we’ve been full as far as accommodation goes and you really don’t want to have to turn people away,” she said.

“We’re pushing at our seams and we really need to look at what capacity do we have (and) how do we maintain that small town feel but still provide a good visitor experience.”

She added Ucluelet has welcomed about 15 new businesses since the start of 2015 and these new businesses have hit firm ground running.

“What’s really pleasing, as far as the chamber of commerce goes, is the increase of new businesses that have started and the fact that they’re having a great season and it’s a good start to their entrepreneurial career…it really bodes well,” she said.

“We’re bringing diversity. There’s new businesses and new opportunities and I think that’s really great.”

While the West Coast’s tourist season has historically concluded in September, Mole believes this year’s season will extend into October.

Read about how Tofino’s tourist season is going in next week’s Westerly News.

 

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

“Intense” storms coming to Tofino and Ucluelet this week

“If you are near the water, it is important to be ‘Coastsmart,’ by staying above the high tide.”

Ucluelet’s indoor market keeps vendors humming through the off-season

“It brings people out, which is great and we showcase different talents, which is great.”

Tofino and Ucluelet ready to clean Kennedy Lake

“You don’t want people to start thinking that this is a dumping ground.”

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Tofino waits for new library

No immediate plans for end to library limbo.

VIDEO: Storm watching at Wickaninnish Beach

This footage of Wickaninnish Beach was taken from the Kwisitis Visitor Centre… Continue reading

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read