The 2015-2016 Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association’s board of directors was acclaimed Thursday evening at their annual general meeting at the Qualicum Beach Inn. Back row from left are: Noel Hayward (Qualicum Beach Inn)

Natural beauty, people lead tourists to Parksville Qualicum Beach

The Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association has new board members after its AGM on Thursday at the Qualicum Beach Innn

Scenery and you.

Those are the two biggest attractions bringing tourists to Parksville Qualicum Beach, according to Dave Petryk, president and CEO of Vancouver Island Tourism.

“When we see Vancouver Island win the award for Conde Naste Traveler, a travel leisure magazine, for best destination in North America…the top two things they rate us on are our natural beauty and our people,” Petryk told a crowd of about 80 at the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association’s annual general meeting Thursday evening at the Qualicum Beach Inn.

Petryk, the event’s keynote presenter, said Vancouver Island holds the second largest marketshare in both visitation and tourism revenue, next to Vancouver’s coast and mountain region.

He said close to $2 billion in revenue is made on Vancouver Island annually.

But there appears to be a gap.

“Often we’re not working together with tourism and economic development,” said Petryk. “Although the messages tend to be the same.”

He said it’s important for stakeholders to work together to build a strong brand first, then work on individual businesses.

“The objective is to grow an awareness of tourism, to work in alignment together and to invest in each other,” he said. “It’s important to think about the value of tourism.”

He said last year in B.C. the tourism industry alone created more than 18,000 jobs.

Petryk said tourism brings in “fresh dollars” from outside the region, creates more services and attracts new residents to the area.

“A lot of the things I like to do as a resident of Vancouver Island I might not be able to do if there wasn’t a tourism industry supporting it,” he said, noting the various golf courses, fishing lodges and adventure tourism organizations on the Island.

He asked the audience, by a show of hands, how many had moved to Parksville Qualicum Beach after first coming as a visitor.

About half the hands in the room flew up.

Petryk said realtors often boast the importance of tourism for home sales as it strongly influences a person’s decision to relocate.

He said tourism is “everyone’s business” including residents, government, economic developing agencies and, of course tourism businesses. He encouraged those pillars to work together to build a foundation for tourism to support the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

For more information visit www.valueoftourism.ca.

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