TIME Magazine recently published a list of the world’s top 50 “extraordinary destinations to explore” and, naturally, Tofino made the cut.
“On the windswept west coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island lies tiny Tofino, a former fishing village and the traditional home of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, now a bustling community surrounded by the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve,” reads Tofino’s description on the list. “Wildlife tours, forest hiking, and walks along wide sandy beaches reconnect people with nature. Powerful winter storms produce ocean swells, creating epic storm-watching opportunities and a thriving cold-water surfing scene.”
Tofino mayor Dan Law noted the list includes a wide array of internationally famous locations like the Galapagos Islands and Nairobi.
“First of all, Tofino is beautiful because Clayoquot Sound is gorgeous. It’s remote, it’s wild, whether it’s Tofino or Ucluelet or the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s just a gorgeous area, so we’re working with that,” Law told the Westerly News.
“It’s fun to get a little recognition and hopefully the whole west coast region gets a little boost from this, recognizing that a lot of the things that make Tofino one of the greatest places are also shared by the entire region. Ucluelet for instance has some fantastic things and we share some of the same draws that people come for.”
He added the recognition is well deserved and congratulated local stakeholders on their work to boost Tofino’s international reputation.
“Over the years residents and visitors have just cared about Tofino and the surrounding area and have worked really hard to protect that beauty and people have also worked really hard to try to create an economy, largely based on keeping Tofino a great place to visit and making it a good experience,” he said. “We have lots of unique and wonderful small businesses and there’s great places to stay, whether it’s a high end resort or an Airbnb or a campsite on the beach. You can pick your experience and they’re all great,” he said. “It’s a fun little town that tries really hard and has a lot of good stuff to work with.”
He added Tofino is in the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and that local First Nations like Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht have “put a tremendous amount of effort” into protecting the area.
“They bring all that cultural depth and history into how residents see the place and also how visitors see the place. The importance of that really can’t be overstated.”
He noted Tofino is hardly starving for attention from potential visitors as its reputation is world class and he hopes residents experience the same joy living in the community as visitors do experiencing it.
“The thing for me, being on council, is making sure that hospitality industry success and getting on these kinds of lists translates into a good lived experience for residents of Tofino and the area and I mean all residents of all ages. That’s the challenge for local government and the local community as a whole really,” he said.