The Lighthouse Country Business Association is beaming a spotlight on the region’s tourism and recreational destinations to draw more visitors to the area.
It’s doing it in the form of a five-hour bus ride called the Lighthouse Country Familiarization Tour, to take place May 24.
President Patrick Jiggins, who who appeared as a delegation at the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Northern Community Economic Development (NCED) Select Committee meeting May 17 to acquire funding, said it is the first bus tour organized for Lighthouse Country.
It will start at Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club at 9 a.m. and will include stops at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Ship & Shore Restaurant, the newly renovated Deep Bay Marina, Chrome Island and The Spit. There will also be shopping opportunity at Magnolia Court, lunch at Tidal Taco Shack in Qualicum Bay, a walk at the Lighthouse Country Community Trail and a surprise activity during the bus ride.
The goal, Jiggins said, is to promote the Lighthouse Country, which encompasses six communities that include Bowser, Deep Bay, Dashwood, Horne Lake, Spider Lake and Qualicum Bay.
The tour, Jiggins pointed out, will enhance the information available to front line staff and volunteers in the hospitality business and tourism in Parksville and Qualicum Beach about what Lighthouse Country can offer tourists to make them stay longer as well as motivate them to visit the region again. Being recognized and supported, said Jiggins, will be appreciated by vendors and businesses.
For the inaugural tour, the LCBA invited the Parksville Chamber of Commerce, Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association, front desk staff at different hotels and the media.
The LCBC will be renting a bus from the RDN and requested $1,200 from the NCED to cover some of the cost.
Another way the LCBA plans to promote the Lighthouse Community is to build welcoming and informative signage at the Deep Bay Marina.
Jiggins said the problem with the current signs that are now in place throughout the region is that they fail to provide information on the area businesses, services and attractions for visitors.
The LCBA has requested $4,700 from the NCED to build a kiosk-like structure in the Deep Bay area.
It has received funding from the NCED for a similar project at Magnolia Court in Bowser in the past.