Studies, reports, branding exercises. They are enough to put taxpayers and reporters alike to sleep. And when they originate from any level of government, the cries of “waste” come early and often.
That does not seem to be the case with the branding exercise commissioned by what used to be called the Oceanside Tourism Association. Its members — real people, doing real business and employing hundreds of real residents in our area – have told us they are delighted with changes being implemented, especially as it relates to the association’s new name.
It all seemed too hunky-dory for our skeptical minds. The idea that the OTA would ditch a name like this, one ingrained in the local vernacular and used by so many organizations and businesses, seemed a big move, one that might not be necessary and might actually hurt some of the group’s members.
So we worked the phones, calling a few of the area’s largest tourism operators, expecting to hear at least one dissenting voice. We purposely called people who were not on the OTA’s board because well, what are they going to say other than something to present a united front? We’re not talking about Qualicum Beach town council here – this OTA board knows how to debate sticky, personal issues behind closed doors and present a clear, singular message to the public.
Much to our surprise, our admittedly unscientific poll of operators came up with no opposing views when it came to the name change from Oceanside to Parksville Qualicum Beach. Now, we may still hear from those in Bowser or Coombs who may feel excluded by the new name, but the association seems to have plans to help members in those communities take advantage of some new opportunities.
This is not some government study destined to collect dust on a shelf somewhere. This is real — the livelihoods of many of your neighbours depend on how well this region is marketed to the country and the world.
So we salute the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association and its consultant, Stormy Lake, for a job well done. Just don’t forget about our buddies in Bowser.
— Editorial by John Harding