Silly Boats to Bathtubs, the summer of 2015 is going to be a busy time for Nanaimo’s tourism industry – that was the message delivered during the first ever Tourism Matters networking session held July 14 at the city’s Pioneer Waterfront Plaza.
“It’s important that as an industry and as colleagues that we take the time out of our busy schedules to connect with each other and to learn what’s happening in our community,” explained Lesley Anderson, Executive Director with Tourism Nanaimo.
“We’re looking forward to hosting more of these events, strengthening our partnerships and our collaboration within our industry – building our tourism industry for the future. Partnership and collaboration are the backbone of a successful tourism industry in any community. Tourism Nanaimo with its great partners, the Chamber of Commerce and the DNBIA are playing leadership roles in supporting a culture of partnership and collaboration within the tourism industry within Nanaimo and region.”
Previously tourism industry participants would get together to exchange ideas and share plans at the randomly held Tourism Tuesday sessions, the event held July 14 behind the Bastion was the start of what could be a more structured series of informal information sessions.
One of the highlights of the information session was an update on the upcoming Silly Boat Regatta, a fundraising event orchestrated by the Nanaimo Development Centre. “The Silly Boat Regatta is celebrating 31 years this year. We have grown immensely in that time frame with the Silly Boat Regatta,” said the Centre’s Michelle Kocourek.
“It started out in 1984 with only six teams. We’ve grown this year to having 42 teams participating. We max out at 56, so there is still time to get your team in. About 10,000 people attend this event at Maffeo Sutton Park. It’s one of the best attended events by the public each year, and an event that’s pretty much free to attend.”
Kocourek stressed this annual event is a key fundraiser for her organization. “What not everyone knows however that it is actually a fundraiser for the Child Development Centre right now we 264 children on our waiting list – children who are waiting up to 10 months to receive services. So community awareness is a huge component of what we do. We’ve actually come down from 450 children and a two year waiting list to where we are now.”
With a wealth of tourism-focused activity on tap this summer, and with a renewed emphasis on sharing and collaboration by local industry stakeholders, the Nanaimo area tourism industry is looking forward to a positive and successful tourism season.