tourism vancouver master plan

Tourism Vancouver AGM 2013 | BCBusiness Tourism Vancouver chair R. Gordon Johnson (left) and Mayor Gregor Robertson at the Tourism Vancouver 2013 AGM.

Vancouver’s Tourism Master Plan Revealed

tourism vancouver master plan

First ever Tourism Vancouver Master Plan calls for improved product development, events, visitor experience design, neighbourhoods, tourism infrastructure development and transportation, and more

More than 300 members of the Vancouver’s $2.7 billion tourism industry gathered at the Vancouver Playhouse yesterday to hear an overview of city’s first ever Tourism Master Plan at Tourism Vancouver ‘s 110th annual general meeting.

The concept of the plan, led by Resonance Consultancy and a combined effort by Tourism Vancouver, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Economic Commission, began over a year ago. The action for it stemmed from Rethink Vancouver, a Tourism Vancouver-led industry collaboration that started in 2010 aimed at identifying steps to help Vancouver achieve its goal of becoming a “World City.”

“Rethink Vancouver and the Tourism Master Plan are monumental steps for Vancouver,” said Tourism Vancouver president and CEO Rick Antonson. “We are particularly heartened by how closely the interests of local residents align with the tourism industry.”

The plan has involved more than 180 interviews with tourism industry professionals, an online survey of more than 2,000 residents and industry people, two open house forums and a review of more than 400 documents and reports.

Recommendations in the plan hit eight key areas of focus: product development, events, visitor experience design, neighbourhoods, tourism infrastructure development, transportation, advocacy and public affairs and partnerships and alliances. (A full list of recommendations can be found on the Tourism Master Plan website .)

“Building on the incredible success of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, [tourism] is an industry with vast potential for growth and one that merits the full ongoing support of government partners,” Mayor Robertson said at the meeting.

Recommendations from the plan further include establishing a product development strategy to support existing attractions and create new tourism concepts; creating a dedicated events organization to lead, organize and manage citywide efforts in delivering year-round events; and creating a neighbourhood marketing council with Business Improvements Areas to promote the diversity of neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

The overall goal of the plan is to guide the development of Vancouver’s tourism sector in a more coordinated fashion, ensuring that the industry grows in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. The final plan will be released to the public in July.

The AGM also introduced Tourism Vancouver’s 2013/2014 Board of Directors. Incoming chair Bob Lindsay, owner/operator of Lift Bar, Grill, View will lead a 15-member board made up of prominent members of the tourism industry.

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tourism vancouver master plan

Eleven new destination and tourism infrastructure developments are underway in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains tourism region with support from the Province.

“We know recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses and people in the tourism sector are critically important. This fund creates new tourism infrastructure, which will help the sector recover, create local jobs and spur economic development,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Building on the calls to action from the sector, this fund invests in initiatives that link communities together and encourages visitors to spend time at several destinations within a region.”

Destination BC, representing the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains tourism region, in partnership with community destination management organizations, local and regional governments, First Nations, non-profits and other partners have worked together to identify initiatives that will enhance the region’s tourism amenities and experiences.

Initiatives underway in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains tourism region include developing public outdoor instalments in the Metro Vancouver area to animate gathering spaces, investing in the Experience the Fraser project, and developing a self-guided journey to Pemberton’s, Lillooet’s and the Bridge River Valley’s key agri-tourism attractions.

Examples in other parts of the province include improvement of trail systems throughout a region for hiking, Nordic skiing or mountain biking, self-guided tour signage to highlight agri-tourism areas and a series of Indigenous landmarks throughout a region. The Province has provided $2.1 million toward these projects.

“Intentional destination development planning in the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains region brings together diverse tourism partners to strengthen the hearts of our communities and create compelling experiences for visitors,” said Jody Young, manager, Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region for Destination BC. “When we work together to invest in experiential infrastructure projects that benefit numerous communities in the region, the result is not only economic return, but a stronger connection between people and the places they share.”

As part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, the province’s six tourism regions have received a total of $13.6 million to create employment opportunities, attract new businesses and increase economic diversification within communities.

The Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC, including the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure program, Destination Development and the Tourism Dependent Communities Initiative. The approved projects must be completed by March 2023.

Brenda Bailey, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek –

“Tourism is such an important industry for people and businesses across Greater Vancouver. While the pandemic has forced many to put their travel plans on hold, with this funding, we will be in an even better position to welcome visitors back after the pandemic. In addition to benefiting our neighbourhoods and creating local jobs, these regional initiatives, such as new outdoor art installations in public gathering spaces around Metro Vancouver, will give people more reasons to explore our backyard and see more of what the area has to offer.”

Allison Colthorp, executive director, Tourism Chilliwack –

“This financial investment from the Province will have a significant impact on the continued development of the ‘Experience the Fraser’ project. This project was formed as a partnership between the regional districts, municipalities and First Nations along the Fraser River as a means to strengthen connections between communities, residents and visitors. We look forward to working in collaboration with our partners to move this great project forward.”

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Tourism Vancouver’s CEO on Steering The Future of Urban Travel

SkiftX + Skift

SkiftX + Skift

March 13th, 2018 at 5:38 PM EDT

Many heavily visited cities have a whole host of issues to collectively address based on the challenges of overtourism and the opportunities provided by new connectivity platforms. Here's a deep-dive masterclass on how Vancouver is tackling the future.

tourism vancouver master plan

This post is original content created by the  SkiftX  brand strategy team for our Skift Cities platform.  Learn more about what SkiftX can do for partners here .

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

Vancouver has never really had a tourism brand.

The city has succeeded as a travel destination largely based on its image and reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful, livable, and progressive urban environments. In 2017, Vancouver welcomed more than 10.3 million overnight visitors — the fourth consecutive year with record tourist arrivals.

However, Vancouver is long overdue for a specific travel brand promise that transcends its physical drama at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Ocean and downtown core. And one that goes beyond the open-mindedness, diversity and inclusivity baked into the city’s social fabric.

Therefore,  Tourism Vancouver  is developing a new destination marketing and development strategy leveraging the rise of global demand for transformative travel experiences.

“We believe we are a place, if we go to the essence of the brand, that connects people and inspires them to live with passion,” explains Ty Speer, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver. “Based on our surveys and research in our origin markets, we’re pretty comfortable with the idea that people are coming to Vancouver to reconnect with themselves, reconnect with others, and have a bit of a small, medium or large life-changing moment in time.”

To deliver on that strategy over the long run, Vancouver needs to maintain the quality of its urban user experience for both locals and visitors, which is challenging in the face of record growth year-over-year. To address that, the public and private sectors have been following mandates from the 2013  Vancouver Tourism Master Plan  to inform sustainable development.

Among the primary takeaways from the master plan, the city has to continue to preserve and improve the integrity of the built and natural environments, and how people move between the two. More can also be done to help a wider breadth of the community benefit from inbound tourism, especially by dispersing visitors beyond Stanley Park and the urban center. And, the city needs to ramp up its leadership in smart city infrastructure to connect the visitor and local economies more effectively.

The master plan is presently being updated with a new Vancouver 2030 strategy report developed in partnership with Resonance Consultancy and Tourism Economics . Due out this summer, the new policy framework addresses growing threats related to overtourism, spiraling real estate costs, infrastructure capacity, labor shortages and climate warming, etc., through the end of the next decade.

It also investigates potential opportunities in smart technology, community building and advanced placemaking, among others.

“The Vancouver 2030 process analyzed both demographic and economic factors in each of Vancouver’s specific source markets to forecast future visitor volume,” explains Chris Fair, president of Resonance. “We then identified key supply-side factors that could accelerate or constrain that growth, which led to the creation of different distinct scenarios that outline a range of ways these forces might interact with each other to shape Vancouver’s tourism industry over the next decade.”

Vancouver has long been at the forefront of smart and sustainable tourism development. But like many global cities, the convergence of shifting urban economics, evolving travel consumer behavior and heightened competitiveness is rewriting the rules of destination marketing and management.

We sat down with Speer to discuss many of these themes in-depth, and how Tourism Vancouver and the city are collaborating to design the future of urban travel. The following has been edited for length.

Skift: What can you tell us about your new tourism brand strategy and campaign you’re gearing up to launch this year?

Ty Speer:  We are in the final length of finishing up a new destination brand for Vancouver, which is really ironic because there hasn’t been one, so it’s not as though we’re re-branding, we’re actually branding. When you look around, you see the city brand or an economic commission brand or a Tourism Vancouver company brand, but the destination brand hasn’t been articulated.

One of the great things a lot of Vancouver residents often hear, which really brings home the message of why people want a taste of life here, is we get so many visitors who within a matter of hours say, “Wow. I could really see myself living here.” Right? That’s such a Vancouver thing to hear, and that says a lot about the brand that’s in that transformative travel piece.

I’m not expecting somebody to come here and have their entire life changed. We are happy to help someone come here and say, “You know what? I had a few days of just living a different way, and living the Vancouver way. And after sampling that, there was a change that I was able to make. One that I can integrate into part of my life when I go back home.” That’s firmly in our brand architecture.

Skift: When you say Vancouver is a platform for transformative travel opportunities, how does Canada’s long legacy of acceptance — celebrating diversity, inclusivity, openness, and progressive shared values — fit into that?

Speer: Well, that acceptance piece, to think about that for a second, is really, really important for us, and it came out very clearly in the brand work we did. During the process, somebody made the point that Vancouver is a city that’s really tolerant of all forms of cultures and races. But then somebody else said, “Actually, wait a minute. Tolerant is the opposite of what we are. We’re not tolerant, we’re absolutely accepting.”

For us, the fact that we are a very, very harmonious city with a huge blend of immigrants and locals to us is a really interesting thing. For people coming here, we’re amazingly approachable when it comes to learning something new about Chinese culture, or First Nations culture, or improving the environment, or how Canadians value community and innovation. Yeah, that part to us is a really, really important piece.

Skift: How has the Vancouver Tourism Master Plan influenced the development of the visitor economy in the last few years?

Speer:  We’ve pushed forward a whole range of things that came out of the Tourism Master Plan, which was a helpful exercise on two fronts. It was very good in terms of bringing together our industry and organizations outside of our industry that are important to what we need to do. It was also good in articulating a whole range of things that, if done, would make a positive impact. In many ways, it was a massive optioneering document.

If you look at just a sample of specific things that we’ve acted on, there was a recommendation in the master plan to formalize a structure to pursue sports events, so we started that in 2014 with Sport Hosting Vancouver . We’ve built that up and that’s a pipeline obviously for events that attract visitors. Public Wi-Fi was in there, and we’ve worked very closely with the city as they’ve wanted to push their Wi-Fi agenda forward.

Also, Northeast False Creek is probably the biggest land development project that will happen over the next 20 years. We’ve been, as much as we can, right in the middle of that with the things that we think the visitor industry needs. Special events and programming is another, over and above sports. So there’s been a whole range of things where we said, “Okay, we’re going to focus on these now because we’ve got to get to a level of achievability.”

Skift: For visitors to keep saying, “Wow, I could really see myself living here,” Vancouver needs to make sure it doesn’t become a victim of its own success 15 years from now. How does the new Vancouver Tourism 2030 address that?

Speer: We need to continue to refresh our view of the future, so we’ve worked with Chris Fair and his team at Resonance to come at that from a different point of view. It’s a scenario and planning analysis. We’ve looked at a whole range of factors that you first take in isolation, and then you begin to blend those to get to, as close as anybody can, what the world might look like in 2030. And then we looked at the correlation between what it might look like and what we want it to look like. So, how do we begin to define the right mix of likely outcomes and desirable outcomes?

We also have Tourism Economics as a partner this time, so we’ve got a lot of economic analysis underpinning it, which wasn’t in the tourism master plan. The tourism master plan wasn’t a data-driven exercise; it was really a strategic and stakeholder-driven exercise. This is a much more analytical piece of work, so we’ve been able to assess, “If this factor dominates, what does that mean to our growth pattern? If that factor dominates, what does that mean if this eventuality happens?” Tourism Economics has been great about that, so we’ve got a good mix of strategy and analysis to help us look at scenarios that we think are appealing, and then help us realize them.

Skift: You mentioned that you’re supporting the City of Vancouver’s agenda to roll out public Wi-Fi. How does that benefit the visitor economy?

Speer: We’ve been looking at access to free Wi-Fi for a while. The city did phase one a couple years ago, which was very much underpinned by use of city infrastructure and libraries and community centers, so it didn’t have the reach we need. But they’ve now done phase two with Shaw Communications, which leverages infrastructure and Shaw’s hotspots, and now there’s much better coverage. So we’re now in a position where we can put a message out to our visitors that says, “You don’t have to go to Starbucks every time to get free Wi-Fi. You can log into this.” That really unlocks our ability to say, “Now that there’s a platform in place where we don’t have to have a conversation about roaming charges, what do we need to think about in terms of how we enable a smarter way for visitors to experience Vancouver?” We’re kind of in the middle of that right now.

Skift: So, the goal then is that blanket Wi-Fi means greater conversion? Travelers are more likely to access partner content and more likely to buy?

Speer: Well, it can be a number of things. Clearly, information is one. That’s great. We want to be able to do that. We know, as well, that a lot of visitors make a whole number of decisions in destinations to plan their experience. Like, “What restaurant should I choose?” Or, “I don’t know what I’m going do today, I’ll wait on the weather. Oh, it’s a nice day, okay, now I want to go to Grouse Mountain.”

How do we help enable that? We’re already in the ticket-selling business, so if you go downstairs to the tourism and visitor center you can buy a ticket to a whole range of things, but that’s a regional shelf front. Now, we want to take that regional shelf front and represent our members online with more transactional capability. Then, within as short a space as possible, we’ve provided visitors with a service that ultimately helps our members benefit.

But we’d like for it to also extend beyond that. We’ve got a little bit of work to do on this, but I would hope in time it allows us to go back and say, “How’d we do?” We all live and die in the recommendation economy, so we want the ability to go back and say, after an experience, “How was Grouse Mountain? How was Capilano? How was Stanley Park?”

But then, we also want to roll up to where we can say, “Here’s a proxy on the destination.” Every destination is a sum total of every experience and everybody’s opinion, so how are we doing as a destination? Because in the end, if some parts of the destination do really well, but other parts don’t, then you’ve got a dead weight problem. We want to deliver that visitor experience quality everywhere.

Skift: CitizenLab is a crowdsourcing platform that works with cities in Europe to pull citizen feedback on all types of urban themes. They’re expanding into North America for the first time to collaborate with the City of Vancouver on the Canadian government’s Smart Cities Challenge . Couldn’t a platform like that be used to close the feedback loop from visitors?

Speer:  It’s the how. I think it’s easy to understand what you would like to do, and probably easy to understand why you’d like to do it, but how you do it is hard. I’m really interested. We’re not in conversation with CitizenLab ourselves. That may be something worth doing. I think what’s really interesting in that space is on two levels. One, and I’ll have to interrogate their platform, is where we could easily have that conversation with visitors to understand the good, the bad, and areas for improvement across the entire destination experience.

The other, which is very important to us, is the right means to engage with our citizens to make sure that we have our finger on the pulse about how they feel about visitors. Right? I think we’re the type of industry that local people should be proud and supportive of. I don’t want to just be accepted as an industry. I want tourism to be appreciated and valued and embraced by our residents. That’s got to be where we are.

People have got to know us and love us that live here, so it has to be a lot more than, “Yeah, it’s all right. Okay, we’ll put up with it.” No way. We’ve got to be much better than that, so these platforms and other initiatives allow us to understand how residents feel. I think they should eventually, and by eventually I mean in the next 12 to 24 months, be a core business vision for every DMO (destination marketing organization).

Skift: Sustainable tourism development is a huge conversation worldwide, but not only in terms of land and urban environmental integrity, but also equitable economic development. Considering Vancouver’s record tourism numbers year-over-year, how are you addressing long-term growth to ensure that a wider breadth of Vancouverites benefit?

Speer: Everything I said a moment ago about wanting to be an industry that’s appreciated and embraced relates to a lot about the sustainability of our industry. The starting point is if people don’t like you, that’s a risk to your industry. That’s number one. Number two is about making sure that we’re continuing to create opportunities and knowledge that help our industry businesses to be community builders, so they contribute to the communities that they operate in.

We’re arguably as significant in size and scale as any industry in the city, and like in most parts of the world, people don’t know that. The tourism industry is famous for being unloved, or invisible or under appreciated. So it’s very important that we get that message out that we make a contribution to the quality of life here. From a sustainability discussion, just take the restaurant sector as an example. The restaurant sector doesn’t fundamentally look at us and say, “Tourism is the most important market for us.” For them, the bulk of their revenue comes from locals. We totally understand that, but restaurants operate on really, really thin margins, and if 5 or 10 percent of their visitors are tourists, that might make the difference between a restaurant making it or not making it.

Or a festival making it or not making it, or an art exhibit being profitable or not being profitable. Although we operate at the margins from a scale point of view for lots of businesses, it’s also the difference between success and failure because we’re adding that extra contribution. So when we look at our broader purpose of why we’re here and what we do, it really is about adding to the reputation of the city and the quality of life here.

Skift: In other worlds, the conversation around the impact of destination marketing and management extends well beyond jobs, tourist spend, and tax base.

Speer:  Absolutely. It’s not just about 65,000 jobs and $5 billion of economic contribution. It’s about this place is what it is, in part, because we make the contribution that we make. If we weren’t here, if you took us all out, lots of things would just start to shrink and fall over. That’s important to us from a sustainability point of view because it’s about sustaining the quality of life.

There are other more discrete things. We’re big believers in promoting simple things for visitors around public transport and walkability. Those are critical to being true to what the city is about. We’re big believers in promoting the opportunity to go rent a bike and pedal around the city. I think one of the biggest challenges with the word “sustainability” is every time you use is, somebody has a different definition. Sustainability for a lot of people is the environment, but if you look at the bigger picture, it’s all about long-term viability.

Skift: At Skift, we always talk about how cities are no longer cities. They’re networks of neighborhoods attracting different traveler segments. How are you striving to enhance the long-term viability of your neighborhoods outside the downtown core?

Speer:  I think it’s important to always put into context that we’re a member-driven company, so we have about 1,000 members that we represent. We’re always thinking about how can we do as much as we can to serve up business opportunity for members. So that marries well with international transit people who are looking for — I almost hesitate to use it because it’s so overused — authentic experiences.

We go to great lengths promoting our different neighborhoods to say, “Okay, here’s a real Vancouver story for you to be part of.” It makes a lot of sense, especially for people that are interested in something a little bit different and are kind of on that wave. I don’t want to reduce it to, “This is what millennials do,” because usually when we say that it’s wrong. But it does allow us to speak to people in a different way, and of course it means trends like home-sharing and Airbnb.

It’s important that we’re able to say, “Look, Commercial Drive is a great day out.” It’s really interesting and a very different part of Vancouver. It’s not about mountains and water anymore and it’s not about a downtown experience. It’s about a neighborhood with interesting shops and interesting restaurants, and it’s easy to get to. So it’s all about continually reintroducing new chapters, and in an ideal world, maybe that gives somebody a reason to say, “You know what? I’m going to tack on a day.” In our world, as with any destination, one extra overnight stay times a large number of visitors is a massive contribution to all of our businesses and the destination.

Skift: A lot of tourism leaders are now promoting their local makers more to show the creative spirit of their indie entrepreneurs, and how they define and develop a neighborhood. It’s the whole Brooklynization or ‘Keep Portland Weird’ thing where local shops selling bamboo sunglasses or artisanal donuts create a more unique community identity. Does that resonate with you?

Speer: It sort of does. I think eventually you have to work backwards from how can you connect to the people. I’m not sure it’s maker-forward as much as it’s consumer-backward, right? Where is the consumer and how do I work backwards to extract something that’s of interest to them and then connect it with something here? It’s not necessarily, “Go find someone and push them at people.” I’d rather be pulling, and asking, “What do you like? How do I meet your needs?”

So let’s say you’re interested in sustainably-made bamboo sunglasses. I’ve got a guy for that. Right? I think we’ve got to work backwards from the customer and not just kind of assume that we’ve got a bunch of cool people, and customers are going to care. Although, I think eventually those lines just connect.

We’re going to definitely want to expand on all those passion areas that we can find, related to our new brand vision, that we think are meaningful to consumers, and put a human face on them. There’s no doubt about that. But, for us, it will ultimately be more about, “How do I give you something that’s meaningful to you?” I want to find out what you want, and I want to be able to serve up some information that shifts you from, “Okay, I was thinking about coming to Vancouver” to now, “I’m definitely going to visit and I’m going to have a deeper experience.” Then, we’re back into that world of, if you want to call it “transformative travel,” where we can deliver a customized experience that’s more meaningful to you and makes your time in Vancouver all the better.

Skift: Speaking of deeper experiences, Airbnb Experiences offer some really interesting opportunities, like one we did called: “ Hang With a Vancouver Startup Founder .” British Columbia recently voted to collect provincial sales tax and bed tax from Airbnb . Does that shift how you might promote Airbnb and engage with the brand in any new ways?

Speer:  In a word, yes. We’ve said for the past three years, there were two major criteria for us to be able to work with Airbnb. One was regulation and the second was taxation. Because we felt without either of those, we’re just dealing in a non-official economy, and as the official representative of the visitors here and visitor businesses here, we just couldn’t be in that space. The regulation will come into effect on the first of April, and the province is going to collect those two taxes, so PST, provincial sales tax, and the MRDT, which is hotel tax.

I’ve said this to Airbnb, “When you guys become legitimate, we’re ready to go.” The missing piece for us, which we’ll sort out in the next little while, is we have to figure out what the right membership structure is because we’ve never dealt with anything like Airbnb and 5,000 hosts before.

We’re ready to go, but we probably won’t rush into it on the first of April. I think there’s a near-term evolution. We’ve got to monitor how compliance happens. If, out of 5,000 or 6,000 hosts, depending on how you count on a given day, nobody signs up, then I’m going to pause because regulation without compliance isn’t really the framework of legitimacy that we need. But assuming that Airbnb drives good compliance, and they’ve said they’ve got very specific plans to drive that compliance, I’m pleased about that. Assuming that happens, we’ll get a membership structure worked out and we will start that work.

So, as I mentioned, we’re ready to go. I’ve met with Airbnb recently. They want to do stuff, we want to do stuff. We’re one of their top 10 cities in the world. China’s the number one outbound market in the world. It’s not rocket science to connect the dots.

Skift: What’s the vibe from the hotels?

Speer:  Our hotel partners, which are core partners of ours, kind of moved past the “Airbnb is the enemy” thing a long time ago. The thinking now is that Airbnb just represents more competition. Nobody wants more competition, but I’m not dealing with hotel partners saying, “Make that go away.” They’ve moved on.

Skift: How might you work with Airbnb to promote home-sharing in general, and Airbnb Experiences specifically?

Speer: Well, it all depends. We sit down with lots of our members and work on all kinds of different collaborative promotions. Sometimes it takes the form of member missions in market to sell things. Sometimes it’s trade shows or cooperative advertising. I’ve seen advertising campaigns that take all kinds of forms. We can do a big digital play of course because Airbnb is about as powerful a platform probably as any travel company ever, arguably.

There are any number of ways that we could probably sit down and say, “Okay, how do we go out and find people that might be potential Vancouver visitors and message them together.” We could be a content provider to Airbnb. We’ve got some great destination content that might fit really well on their site.

Skift: So just to sum up, platforms like CitizenLab and Airbnb have been successful connecting the private and public sectors, and people to people, very effectively. So, ideally, it seems that an organization like Tourism Vancouver should eventually be able to plug into that some way to deliver more customized connectivity, right? That’s basically a big part of the premise behind smart cities and smart tourism.

Speer: Sure, of course, and it’s on our mind. Absolutely on our mind. I want those tools to be available, but I think the other thing we have to be mindful of is, Airbnb will do it anyway. They don’t necessarily need me; they’re in that space. There are other things, including tours by locals, and there are other different platforms out there where people are making businesses out of their local expertise and their local passions. It certainly will be part of how we take the passion idea, I think, to market

If somebody’s into seafood, how do we deliver on that? Somebody’s into yoga, how do we do that? Somebody’s into paddle boarding or scuba, how do we do that? I want to think about how we solve all of that, but I’m also mindful that there’ll only be a subset of our visitor base who really wants to go that deep. Some people will still say, “You know what? I want to go to Vancouver and I want to go on a cruise to Alaska. I want to spend a couple nights in a nice hotel. I want to appreciate fresh air, beautiful scenery, some nice meals, a little bit of culture.” They’re not going to go deep.

We’ve got to be in a position to say, “Okay, Greg is going to go deep. How do we help that? Sally is not going to go deep. We’ve got all of that.” Again, I’m a big believer in working back from the customer point of view, so we’ve got to be able to serve up as much or as little depth as somebody wants. It’s about understanding who our visitors are, and how we can help them.

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Photo credit: Northeast False Creek, Vancouver. Tourism Vancouver

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Chapter 2. Transportation

Morgan Westcott

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the role of transportation in the tourism industry
  • Recognize milestones in the development of the air industry and explain how profitability is measured in this sector
  • Report on the historic importance of rail travel and challenges to rail operations today
  • Describe water-based transportation segments including cruise travel and passenger ferries
  • Recognize the importance of transportation infrastructure in tourism destinations
  • Specify elements of sightseeing transportation, and explain current issues regarding rental vehicles and taxis
  • Identify and relate industry trends and issues including fuel costs, environmental impacts, and changing weather

The transportation sector is vital to the success of our industry. Put simply, if we can’t move people from place to place — whether by air, sea, or land — we don’t have an industry. This chapter takes a broad approach, covering each segment of the transportation sector globally, nationally, and at home in British Columbia.

Let’s start our review by taking a look at the airline industry.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in 2014, airlines transported 3.3 billion people across a network of almost 50,000 routes generating 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in business activity (International Air Transport Association, 2014a).

Spotlight On: International Air Transport Association

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing around 240 airlines or 84% of total air traffic. It supports many areas of aviation activity and helps formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues (IATA, 2014b). For more information, visit the  International Air Transport Association website :

The first commercial (paid) passenger flight took place in Florida on New Year’s Day 1914 as a single person was transported across Tampa Bay (IATA 2014a). There have been a number of international aviation milestones since that flight, as illustrated in Table 2.1.

Rules and Regulations

Aviation is a highly regulated industry as it crosses many government jurisdictions. This section explores key airline regulations in more detail.

The contrail from a plane streaks across a blue sky.

The term open skies refers to policies that allow national airlines to fly to, and above, other countries. These policies lift restrictions where countries have good relationships, freeing up the travel of passengers and goods.

Take a Closer Look: The 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation

This document contains the original statements from the convention that created the airline industry as we know it, providing a preamble statement as well as detailed articles pertaining to a range of issues from cabotage to pilotless aircraft. Read the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation [PDF] :

Canada’s approach to open skies is the Blue Sky Policy , first implemented in 2006. The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) and Canadian Airports Council (CAC) support the Blue Sky Policy.

While opening up a ir transport agreements (ATAs) with other jurisdictions is important, the Canadian government doesn’t provide blanket arrangements, instead negotiating “when it is in Canada’s overall interest to do so” (Government of Canada, 2014a). Some su ggest the government should be more liberal with air access so more competitors can enter the market, potentially attracting more visitors to the country (Gill and Raynor, 2003).

Taxes and Fees

According to a 2012 Senate study on issues related to the Canadian airline industry, Canadian travellers are being grounded by airline fees, fuel surcharges, security taxes, airport improvement fees, and other additional costs. Airports are charged rental fees by the Canadian government ($4.8 billion from 1992 to 2004), which they pass on to the airlines, who in turn transfer the costs to travellers. Some think eliminating rental fees would make Canadian airports more competitive, and view rental and other fees as the reason 5 million Canadians went south of the border for flights in 2013, where passenger fees are 230% lower than in Canada (Hermiston and Steele, 2014).


Running an airline is like having a baby: fun to conceive, but hell to deliver. – C. E. Woolman, principal founder of Delta Air Lines ( The Economist , 2011).

As the quote above suggests, airlines are faced with many challenges. In addition to operating in a strict regulatory environment, airlines yield extremely small profit margins. In 2013 the industry accumulated $10.6 billion worldwide in revenues, although global profit margins were just 1.5% (IATA, 2014a). To put that into perspective, while the average airline earned 1.5%, Apple’s profit margins were almost 14 times that at 20.15% (YCharts, 2014).

Passenger Load Factor

Key to airline profitability is passenger load factor , which relates how efficiently planes are being used. Load factor for a single flight can be determined by dividing the number of passengers by the number of seats.

A two-decker plane picks up speed on a runway.

Passenger load factors in the airline industry reached a record high in 2013, at just under 80%, which was attributed to increased volumes and strong capacity management in key sectors (IATA, 2104a). One way of increasing capacity is by using larger aircraft. For instance, the introduction of the Airbus A380 model has allowed up to 40% more capacity per flight, carrying up to  525 passengers in a three-class configuration, and up to 853 in a single-class configuration (Airbus, 2014). 

Low-Cost Carriers

Another key factor in profitability is the airline’s business model. In 1971, Southwest Airlines became the first low-cost carrier (LCC), revolutionizing the industry. The LCC model involved charging for all extras such as reserved seating, baggage, and on-board service, and cutting costs by offering less legroom and using non-unionized workforces. Typically, an LCC has to run with  90% full planes to break even (Owram, 2014). The high-volume, lower-service system is what we have become used to today, but at the time it was introduced, it was groundbreaking.

Ancillary Revenues

The LCC model, combined with tight margins, led to today’s climate where passengers are charged for value-added services such as meals, headsets, blankets, seat selection, and bag checking. These are known in the industry as ancillary revenues . Profits from these extras rose from $36 billion in 2012 to $42 billion in 2013, or more than $13 a passenger. An average net profit of only $3.39 per passenger was retained by airlines (IATA, 2014a).

As you can see, airlines must strive to maintain profitability, despite thin margins, in an environment with heavy government regulation. But at the same time, they must be responsible for the safety of their passengers.

Air Safety and Security

IATA encourages airlines to view safety from a number of points, including reducing operational risks such as plane crashes, by running safety audit programs. They also advocate for improved infrastructure such as runway upgrades and training for pilots and other crew. Finally, they strive to understand emerging safety issues, including the outsourcing of operations to third-party companies (IATA, 2014a).

In terms of security, coordination between programs such as the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Documents initiative and other databases is critical (IATA, 2014a). As reservations and management systems become increasingly computerized, cyber-security becomes a top concern for airlines, who must protect IT (information technology) because their databases contain information about flights and passengers’ personal information. Unruly passengers are also a cause of concern, with over 8,000 incidents reported worldwide every year (IATA, 2014a).

Now that we have a better sense of the complexities of the industry, let’s take a closer look at air travel in Canada and the regional air industry.

Canada’s Air Industry


In 1937, Trans-Canada Air Lines (later to become Air Canada) was launched with two passenger planes and one mail plane. By the 1950s,   Canadian Pacific Airlines (CP Air) entered the marketplace, and an economic boom led to more affordable tickets. Around this time CP Air (which became Canadian Airlines in 1987) launched flights to Australia, Japan, and South America (Canadian Geographic, 2000). In 2001, Canadian Airlines International was acquired by Air Canada (Aviation Safety Network, 2012).

In 1996, the marketplace changed drastically with the entry of an Alberta-based LCC called WestJet.  By 2014, WestJet had grown to become Canada’s second major airline with more than 9,700 staff flying to 88 destinations across domestic and international networks (WestJet, 2014).

As it grew, WestJet began to offer services such as premium economy class and a frequent-flyer program, launched a regional carrier, and introduced transatlantic flights with service to Dublin, Ireland, evolving away from the LCC model (Owram, 2014). With those changes, and in the absence of  a true low-cost carrier, in 2014, some other companies, such as Canada Jetlines and JetNaked, sought to raise upward of $50 million to bring their airlines to market.

However, outside of Air Canada and WestJet, airlines in Canada have found it very challenging to survive, and some examples of LCC startups like Harmony Airways and Jetsgo have fallen by the wayside.

Challenges to Canada’s Air Industry

When looking at these failed airlines in Canada, three key challenges to success can be identified (Owram, 2014):

  • Canada’s large geographical size and sparse population mean relatively low demand for flights.
  • Canada’s higher taxes and fees compared with other jurisdictions (such as the United States) make pricing less competitive.
  • Canada’s two dominant airlines are able to price new entrants out of the market.

In addition to these factors, the European debt crisis, a slow US economic recovery, more cautious spending by Canadians, and fuel price increases led to a $900 million industry loss in 2011 (Conference Board of Canada, 2012) prior to the industry returning to profitability in 2013.

Take a Closer Look: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

In 2013, a special report to the Canadian Senate explored the concept that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to competitiveness in the country’s airline industry. The report contains general observations about the industry as well as a number of recommendations to stakeholders, including airport managers. Read the report: “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: the Future Growth and Competitiveness of Canadian Air Travel” [PDF] :

Today, the Canadian airline industry directly employs roughly 141,000 people and is worth $34.9 billion in gross domestic product. It supports 330 jobs for every 100,000 passengers and contributes over $12 billion to federal and provincial treasuries, including over $7 billion in taxes (Gill and Raynor, 2013).

Let’s now turn our attention to the regional air market, focusing on British Columbia.

Regional Airlines

Transportation in BC has always been difficult: incomplete road systems and rugged terrain historically made travel between communities almost impossible. In 1927, a number of businessmen promised to change all that when they opened British Columbia Airways in Victoria with the purchase of a commercial airliner (Canadian Museum of Flight, 2014).

As commercial flying became more popular, and the province grew, regional airports started to spring up around BC as a means of delivering surveying equipment, forestry supplies, and workers. Many of these airports were legacies of Canada’s strategic position for the military. Fort Nelson’s airport, for instance, was established so the US Air Force could fuel aircraft bound for Russia in World War II (Northern Rockies Regional Airport, 2014).

In 1994, Transport Canada transferred all 150 airports under its control to local authorities under the National Airports Policy (NAP). This policy is considered to have been a turning point in the privatization of the airline industry in Canada. A 2004 study showed that after 10 years, 48% of these airports were not able to cover annual costs of operation, leading to concerns about the viability of small local airports in particular (InterVISTAS, 2005).

In 2012, the BC government released its aviation strategy, entitled Connecting with the World , which acknowledged the economic challenges for airports large and small. These range from Vancouver International Airport (YVR), which supports more than 61,000 jobs and creates more than $11 billion in economic activity each year, through to regional and local airports. The strategy outlined a framework to remove barriers to aviation growth including potentially eliminating the two-cent-per-litre International Aviation Fuel Tax ( British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure , 2012).

Given a highly complex regulatory environment, razor-thin profit margins, and intense competition, the airline industry is constantly changing and evolving at global, national, and regional levels. But one thing is certain: air travel is here to stay.

On the other hand, the rail industry has been faced with significant declines since air travel became accessible to the masses. Let’s learn more about this sector.


In Chapter 1, we looked at the historic significance of railways as they laid the foundation for the modern tourism industry. That’s because in many places, including Canada and British Columbia, trains were an unprecedented way to move people across vast expanses of land. With the Canadian Pacific company opening up hotels in major cities, BC’s hospitality sector was born and a golden age of rail travel emerged.

However, starting in the 1940s and 1950s, the passenger rail industry began to decline sharply. In 1945, Canadian railways carried 55.4 million passengers, but just 10 years later passenger traffic had dropped to 27.2 million. The creation of VIA Rail in 1977 as a Canadian Crown corporation was an attempt by the government to ensure rail travel did not disappear, but in the years since its founding VIA has struggled, relying heavily on federal subsidies in order to continue operations.

Between 1989 and 1990, VIA lost over 45% of its ridership when it cut unprofitable routes, focusing on areas with better potential for revenue and passenger volumes. From there, annual ridership has stabilized at around 3.5 million to 4.0 million passengers per year, slowly increasing throughout the 1990s and 2000s (Dupuis, 2011).

Despite this slight recovery, there are a number of challenges for passenger rail in Canada, which will likely require continued government support to survive. Three key challenges to a successful passenger rail industry are:

  • Passenger rail must negotiate with freight for right-of-use of tracks.
  • There is limited potential of routes (with the highest volume existing in the Quebec-Windsor corridor).
  • Fixed-cost equipment is aging out, requiring replacement or upgrading.

High-speed rail seems like an attractive option, but would be expensive to construct as existing tracks aren’t suitable for the reasons given above. It’s also unlikely to provide high enough returns to private investors (Dupuis, 2011). This means the Canadian government would have to invest heavily in a rapid rail project for it to proceed. As of 2014, no such investment was planned.

Spotlight On: Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours

Founded in 1990, Rocky Mountaineer offers three train journeys through BC and Alberta to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and Calgary, and one train excursion from Vancouver to Whistler. In 2013, Rocky Mountaineer introduced Coastal Passage, a new route connecting Seattle to the Canadian Rockies that can be added to any two-day or more rail journey (Rocky Mountaineer, 2014). For more information, please visit the Rocky Mountaineer website :

While the industry overall has been in a decline, touring companies like Rocky Mountaineer have found a financially successful model by shifting the focus from transportation to the sightseeing experience. The company has weathered financial storms by refusing to discount their luxury product, instead focusing on the unique experiences. The long planning cycle for scenic rail packages has helped the company stand their ground in terms of pricing (Cubbon, 2010).

Rail Safety

In Canada, rail safety is governed by the Railway Safety Act , which ensures safe railway operation and amends other laws that relate to rail safety (Government of Canada, 2014b). The Act is overseen by the Minister of Transport. It covers grade crossings, mining and construction near railways, operating certifications, financial penalties for infractions, and safety management.

The Act was revised in late 2014 in response to the massive rail accident in July 2013 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. A runaway oil train exploded, killing 47 people, and subsequently MM&A Railway and three employees, including the train’s engineer, were charged with criminal negligence (CBC News, 2014).

In addition to freight management issues, a key rail safety concern is that of crossings. As recently as April 2014, Transport Canada had to issue orders for improved safety measures at crossings in suburban Ottawa after a signal malfunctioned in the area (CTV News, 2014a). According to Operation Lifesaver Canada (2014), in 2011, there were 169 crossing collisions across Canada, with 25 fatalities and 21 serious injuries. In general, however, Canada’s 73,000 kilometres of railway tracks safely transport both people and goods. And while railways in Canada, and elsewhere, are being forced to innovate, companies like Rocky Mountaineer (see Spotlight On above) give the industry glimmers of hope.

The rail industry shares some common history with the cruise sector. Let’s now turn our focus to the water and learn about the evolution of travel on the high seas.


Travel by water is as old as civilization itself. However, the industry as we know it began when Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine in 1712. The first crossing of the Atlantic by steam engine took place in 1819 aboard the SS Savannah , landing in Liverpool, England, after 29 days at sea. Forty years later, White Star Lines began building ocean liners including the  Olympic -class ships (the Olympic, Britannic , and Titanic ), expanding on previously utilitarian models by adding luxurious amenities (Briggs, 2008).

A boom in passenger ship travel toward the end of the 1800s was aided by a growing influx of immigrants from Europe to America, while more affluent passengers travelled by steamship for pleasure or business. The industry grew over time but, like rail travel, began to decline after the arrival of airlines. Shipping companies were forced to change their business model from pure transportation to “an experience,” and the modern cruise industry was born.

The Cruise Sector

We’ve come a long way since the Olympic class of steamship. Today, the  world’s largest cruise ship, MS  Oasis of the Seas , has an outdoor park with 12,000 plants, an 82-foot zip wire, and a high-diving performance venue. It’s 20 storeys tall and can hold 5,400 passengers and a crew of up to 2,394 (Magrath, 2014).  A crew on a cruise ship will include the captain, the chief officer (in charge of training and maintenance), staff captain, chief engineer, chief medical officer, and chief radio officer (communication, radar, and weather monitoring).

Spotlight On: Cruise Lines International Association

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines and travel agents in the development of policy. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research, and marketing communications (CLIA, 2014). For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit the Cruise Lines International Association website :

Cruising the World

According to CLIA, 21.7 million passengers were expected to travel worldwide on 63 member lines in 2014. Given increased demand, 24 new ships were expected in 2014-15, adding a total capacity of over 37,000 passengers.

Over 55% of the world’s cruise passengers are from North America, and the leading destinations (based on ship deployments), according to CLIA, are:

  • The Caribbean (37%)
  • The Mediterranean (19%)
  • Northern Europe (11%)
  • Australia/New Zealand (6%)
  • Alaska (5%)
  • South America (3%)

River Cruising

While mass cruises to destinations like the Caribbean remain incredibly popular, river cruises are emerging as another strong segment of the industry. The key differences between river cruises and ocean cruises are (Hill, 2013):

  • River cruise ships are smaller (400 feet long by 40 feet wide on average) and can navigate narrow passages.
  • River cruises carry fewer passengers (about 10% of the average cruise, or 200 passengers total).
  • Beer, wine, and high-end cuisine are generally offered in the standard package.

The price point for river cruises is around the same as ocean trips, with the typical cost ranging from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the itinerary, accommodations, and other amenities.

From 2008 to 2013, river cruises saw a 10% annual passenger increase. Europe leads the subcategory, while emerging destinations include a cruise route along China’s Yangtze River. As the on-board experience differs greatly from a larger cruise (no play areas, water parks, or on-board stage productions), the target demographic for river cruises is 50- to 70-year-olds. According to Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking, an international river cruising company, “with river cruises, a destination is the destination,” although many river cruises are themed around cultural or historical events (Hill, 2013).


Cruising in Canada

According to a study completed for the North West & Canada Cruise Association (NWCCA) and its partners, in 2012, approximately 1,100 cruise ship calls were made at Canadian cruise ports generating slightly more than 2 million passenger arrivals throughout the six-month cruise season (BREA, 2013). The study found three key cruise itineraries in Canada:

  • Canada/New England
  • Quebec (between Montreal and Quebec City and US ports)
  • Alaska (either departing from, or using, Vancouver or another BC city as a port of call)

These generated $1.16 billion in direct spending. Cruising also generated almost 10,000 full- and part-time jobs paying $397 million in wages and salaries. The international cruise industry also generated an estimated $269 million in indirect business and income taxes in Canada, and the majority of this spending was in British Columbia (BREA, 2013).

Cruising BC

BC’s rail history and cruise history are intertwined. As early as 1887, Canadian Pacific Railway began offering steamship passage to destinations such as Hawaii, Shanghai, Alaska, and Seattle. Ninety-nine years later, Vancouver’s Canada Place was built, with its cruise ship terminals, allowing the province to attract large ships and capture its share of the growing international cruise industry (Cruise BC, 2014).

Spotlight On: Cruise BC

Cruise BC is a partnership between BC port destinations designed to provide a vehicle for cooperative marketing and development of BC’s cruise sector. Their vision is that the West Coast and British Columbia’s coastal communities are recognized and sought out globally by cruise lines and passengers as a destination of choice. For more information, visit the Cruise BC website :

This potential continues to grow as Nanaimo, Prince Rupert, Victoria, and Vancouver accounted for 57% of the Canadian cruise passenger traffic with 1.18 million passengers in 2012 (BREA, 2013).

Cruising isn’t the only way for visitors to experience the waters of BC. In fact, the vast majority of our water travel is done by ferry. Let’s take a closer look at this vital component of BC’s transportation infrastructure.

Ferry service in British Columbia dates back to the mid-1800s when the Hudson’s Bay Company ran ships between Vancouver Island and the Mainland. Later, CP Rail and Black Ball ferries ran a private service, until 1958 when Premier W.A.C. Bennett announced the BC Ferry Authority would consolidate the ferries under a provincial mandate.


The MV Tsawwassen and the MV Sidney began regular service on June 15, 1960, and BC Ferries was officially launched with two terminals and around 200 employees. Today, there are 35 vessels, 47 destinations, and up to 4,700 employees in the summer peak season (BC Ferries, 2014).

BC isn’t the only destination where ferries make up part of the transportation experience. In 2011, Travel + Leisure Magazine profiled several notable ferry journeys in the article, “World’s Most Beautiful Ferry Rides” including:

  • An 800-mile ferry voyage through Chile’s Patagonian fjords
  • A three-mile trip from the Egyptian Spice Market to Istanbul, Turkey
  • Urban ferry rides including Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, Australia’s Sydney Harbour, and New York City’s Staten Island Ferry

The article also featured the 15-hour trip from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert on British Columbia’s coast (Orcutt, 2011).

While cruising is often a pleasant and relaxing experience, there are a number of safety concerns for vessels of all types.

Cruise and Ferry Safety

One of the major concerns on cruise lines is disease outbreak, specifically the norovirus (a stomach flu), which can spread quickly on cruise ships as passengers are so close together. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vessel sanitation program ( is designed to help the industry prevent and control the outset, and spreading, of these types of illnesses (Briggs, 2008).

Accidents are also a concern. In 2006, the BC Ferries vessel MV Queen of the North crashed and sank in the Inside Passage, leaving two passengers missing and presumed dead. The ship’s navigating officer was charged with criminal negligence causing their deaths (Keller, 2013). More recently, a “hard landing” at Duke Point terminal on Vancouver Island caused over $4 million in damage. BC Ferries launched a suit against a German engineering firm in late 2013, alleging a piece of equipment failed, making a smooth docking impossible. The Transportation Safety Board found that staff aboard the ship didn’t follow proper docking procedures, however, which contributed to the crash (Canadian Press, 2013).

Spotlight On: The Transportation Safety Board  

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigates marine, pipeline, rail, and air incidents. It is an independent agency that reviews an average of 3,200 events every year. It does not determine liability; however, coroners and medical examiners may use TSB findings in their investigations. The head office in Quebec manages 220 staff across the country. For more information, visit the Transportation Safety Board website :

We’ve covered the skies, the rails, and the seas. Now let’s round out our investigation of transportation in tourism by delving into travel on land.

While much of this text has placed significance on the emergence of the railways as critical to the development of our industry, BC’s roadways have also played an integral role. Our roads have evolved from First Nations trails, to Fur Trade and Gold Rush routes, to Wagon Roads and Trunk Roads — finally becoming the highway system we know today ( British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways , n.d.).

Take a Closer Look: Frontier to Freeway: A Short Illustrated History of the Roads in British Columbia

This short book, available as a PDF, provides an overview of the integral importance of BC’s evolving roadways in our transportation sector. Read this book: Frontier to Freeway: A Short Illustrated History of the Roads in British Columbia [PDF] :

Today, land-based travel is achieved through a complex web of local transit, taxis, rentals, walking, and short-term sightseeing. This section briefly explores these options.

Scenic and Sightseeing Travel

It’s common for visitors to want to explore a community and appreciate the sights. We’ve already learned a little about the rail-based sightseeing company, Rocky Mountaineer. Many destinations also offer short-term, hop-on-hop-off bus and trolley tours. Others feature trams and trolleys. Outside of impromptu excursions, sightseeing tours are often put together by inbound tour operators. You can learn more about tour operators, and the sightseeing sector, in Chapter 7.

Transit and Destination Infrastructure

Vancouver’s Tourism Master Plan acknowledges the importance of transportation infrastructure to the tourism industry. Priorities for future development by the city include (Tourism Vancouver, 2013):

  • Improving accessibility for people with disabilities
  • Creating a transit loop between downtown attractions
  • Supporting ferries in False Creek
  • Providing late-night transit
  • Investigating and implementing a public bike share
  • Developing more transit options along the Broadway corridor
  • Working with taxi companies to explore a strategic plan for taxi operations
  • Enhancing walkability by implementing recommendations from the Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan

These action items were developed in consultation with industry stakeholders as well as residents, and reflect the interrelated elements that make up a destination’s transportation infrastructure.

Rentals and Taxis


Today, when travellers aren’t using their own cars, automobile travel is traditionally split between rental vehicles and taxis (including limousines).

In North America, there are three main brands that represent approximately 85% of the rental car business: Enterprise (includes National and Alamo), Hertz (includes Dollar and Thrifty), and Avis. One of the reasons that brands have consolidated over time is the high fixed cost of operation as vehicles are purchased, maintained, and disposed of. Fierce competition means prices are checked and updated thousands of times a day. The business is also highly seasonal, with high traffic in summer and spring, and so fleet management is critical for profitability. Rental companies tend to use enplanements (the numbers of passengers travelling by air), as a measurement of market trends that influence rental usage (DBRS, 2010).

In BC, taxi licences are issued by the BC Passenger Transportation Board. In Vancouver, the right to operate a taxi is based on a permit system, and each permit costs the original holder $100. But because of the limited number of permits available, those who hold one are able to auction it off for over $800,000 and keep the profit. As a result, passengers in Vancouver paid an average of 73% more for the equivalent trip in Washington, D.C. Drivers from  areas outside the city depositing passengers in Vancouver are also not permitted to pick up fares on the return trip, having to drive across their boundaries (Proctor, 2014).

Ridesharing apps  like Uber, which allow people to find a ride using their mobile phone, have emerged to exert influence on car travel in key destinations. In San Francisco, these apps have rapidly undercut the taxi industry: according to the city’s transit authority, per month, trips by taxi have plummeted from 1,424 in 2012 to 504 in 2014, even though taxi operators maintain a monopoly over rides from the airport (Kuittinen, 2014). In New York City, however, the price of medallions (similar to Vancouver’s taxi permits) continues to hover above $950,000. In large markets like Manhattan, passengers continue to hail cabs on the street in the moment, with e-hails (electronic taxi hails) at 0.17% of the market (Brustein & Winter, 2014). The City of Vancouver opted to force Uber to roll back after its initial release, and in 2014 placed the app on a six-month moratorium after pressure from taxi operators who cited threats to the values of their licences as well as safety and monitoring concerns (CTV News, 2014b).

As this and other examples illustrate, the transportation sector is vulnerable to regulatory, technological, operational, and business trends. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Trends and Issues

This section explores issues directly relating to transportation today including fuel cost, labour, and environmental impacts. For more information on one of the biggest trends in tourism, online travel agencies (OTAs), and how online bookings impact the transportation sector, please see Chapter 7.

When it comes to moving people, fuel cost is critical. The cost of jet fuel is one of the single highest factors in airline profitability. In 2013, the average cost was around $125 per barrel, which was $5 less than the previous year (IATA, 2014a). Cruise ships consume a lower grade of diesel than do land vehicles, but they consume a lot of it. The QE2 , for example, consumes roughly 380 tonnes of fuel every day if travelling at 28.5 knots (Briggs, 2008).

As in all tourism-related sectors, cyclical labour shortages can significantly impact the transportation industry. In the aviation sector, a forecast found that by 2032 the world’s airlines will need 460,000 additional pilots and 650,000 new maintenance technicians to service current and future aircraft. The drive to find employees also extends to the maritime sector, where the International Maritime Organization (IMO) launched a “Go to sea!” campaign to attract more workers to the field (PWC, 2012).

Environmental Impacts

In addition to fuel and labour costs, and regulations we’ve covered already, the transportation sector has a significant impact on the natural environment.

Air Impacts

According to the David Suzuki Foundation (2014), the aviation industry is responsible for 4% to 9% of climate change impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions from flights have risen 83% since 1990. Airline travel has a greater emissions impact than driving or taking the train per passenger kilometre, which caused a bishop in the UK to famously declare that “Making selfish choices such as flying on holiday [is] a symptom of sin” (Barrow, 2006).

Rail Impacts

Rail travel is widely regarded as one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation due to its low carbon dioxide emissions. Railways come under fire outside of the tourism realm, however, as freight shipping can produce hazards to resident health including an increased risk of developing cancer and noise pollution (The Impact Project, 2012).

Cruise Impacts

Cruise ships can generate significant pollution from black water (containing human waste), grey water (runoff from showers, dishwashers, sinks), bilge water (from the lowest compartment of the ship), solid waste (trash), and chemical waste (cleaners, solvents, oil). One ship can create almost a million litres of grey water, over 113,000 litres of black water, and over 140,000 litres of bilge water every day. Depending on the regulations in the operating areas, ships can simply dump this waste directly into the ocean. Ballast tanks, filled to keep the ship afloat, can be contaminated with species which are then transported to other areas, disrupting sensitive ecosystems (Briggs, 2008).

Land Impacts

A recent study found that the impact of travel on land is highly dependent on the number of passengers. Whereas travelling alone in a large SUV can have high emissions per person (as high as flying), increasing the number of passengers, and using a smaller vehicle, can bring the impact down to that of train travel ( Science Daily , 2013).

For more information on the environmental impacts of the transportation sector, and how to mitigate these, read Chapter 10.

As you’ve learned, the transportation sector can have an effect on climate change, and changes in weather have a strong effect on transportation. According to Natural Resources Canada (2013), some of these include:

  • More drastic freeze-thaw cycles, destroying pavement and causing ruts in asphalt
  • Increased precipitation causing landslides, washing out roads, and derailing trains
  • Effects and costs of additional de-icing chemicals deployed on aircraft and runways (over 50 million litres were used worldwide in 2013)
  • Delayed flights and sailings due to increased storm activity
  • Millions of dollars of infrastructure upgrades required as sea levels increase and flood structures (replacing or relocating bridges, tunnels, ports, docks, dykes, helipads and airports)

The threat of climate change could significantly impact sea-level airports such as YVR, and some 50 additional registered airports across Canada that sit at five metres or less above sea level (Natural Resources Canada, 2013).

For this reason, it’s important that the sector continue to press for innovations and greener transportation choices, if only to ensure future financial costs are kept at bay.

An air plane on a wet runway with lightning in the background.

Tourism, freight, and resource industries such as forestry and mining sometimes compete for highways, waterways, and airways.  It’s important for governments to engage with various stakeholders and attempt to juggle various economic priorities — and for tourism to be at the table during these discussions.

That’s why in 2015 the BC Ministry of Transportation released its 10-year plan, BC on the Move . Groups like the Tourism Industry Association of BC actively polled their members in order to have their concerns incorporated into the plan. These included highway signage and wayfaring, the future of BC Ferries, and urban infrastructure improvements.

You can view the plan by visiting

This chapter has taken a brief look at one of the most complex, and vital, components of our industry. Chapter 3 covers accommodations and is just as essential.

  • Ancillary revenues: money earned on non-essential components of the transportation experience including headsets, blankets, and meals
  • Blue Sky Policy: Canada’s approach to open skies agreements that govern which countries’ airlines are allowed to fly to, and from, Canadian destinations
  • Cruise BC: a multi-stakeholder organization responsible for the development and marketing of British Columbia as a cruise destination
  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA) : the trade association for the world’s airlines
  • Low-cost carrier (LCC): an airline that competes on price, cutting amenities and striving for volume to achieve a profit
  • National Airports Policy (NAP): the 1994 policy that saw transfer of 150 airports from federal control to communities and other local agencies, essentially deregulating the industry
  • Open skies: a set of policies that enable commercial airlines to fly in and out of other countries
  • Passenger load factor: a way of measuring how efficiently a transportation company uses its vehicles on any given day, calculated for a single flight by dividing the number of passengers by the number of seats
  • Railway Safety Act: a 1985 Act to ensure the safe operation of railways in Canada
  • Ridesharing apps: applications for mobile devices that allow users to share rides with strangers, undercutting the taxi industry
  • Transportation Safety Board (TSB): the national independent agency that investigates an average of 3,200 transportation safety incidents across the country every year
  • When did the first paid air passenger take flight? What would you say have been the three biggest milestones in commercial aviation since that date?
  • If a flight with 500 available seats carries 300 passengers, what is the passenger load factor?
  • Why is it difficult for new airlines to take off in Canada?
  • How did some of BC’s regional airports come into existence? What are some of the challenges they face today?
  • How much economic activity is generated by YVR every year?
  • What are the key differences between river cruises and ocean cruises? Who are the target markets for these cruises?
  • Which cities attract more than 50% of the cruise traffic in Canada?
  • What are the priorities for transportation infrastructure development as outlined in Vancouver’s Tourism Master Plan? What other transportation components would you include in your community’s tourism plan?
  • What are some of the environmental impacts of the transportation sector? Name three. How might these be lessened?

Case Study: Air North

Founded in 1977 by Joseph Sparling and Tom Wood, Air North is a regional airline providing passenger and cargo service between Yukon and destinations including BC, Alberta, and Alaska. In 2012, Air North surpassed one million passengers carried. Employing over 200 people, the airline is owned in significant part by the Vuntut Development Corporation, the economic arm of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN). In fact, one in 15 Yukoners owns a stake in the airline (Air North, 2015).

The ownership model has meant that economic returns are not always the priority for shareholders. As stated on its website, “ the maximization of profit is not the number one priority,” as air service is a “lifeline” to the VGFN community. For this reason, service and pricing of flights is extremely important, as are employment opportunities. 

Visit the corporate information portion of the Air North website and answer the following questions:

  • What is the number one priority of Air North? How is the company structured to ensure it can meet its goals in this area?
  • What does Air North consider to be its competitive advantage? How does this differ from other airlines?
  • Describe the investment portfolio of the Vuntut Development Corporation. What types of companies does it own? Why might they have selected these types of initiatives?
  • List at least three groups that have a stake in the airline. What are their interests? Where do their interests line up, and where do they compete?
  • In your opinion, would this regional airline model work in your community? Why or why not?

Air North. (2015). Corporate information . Retrieved from

Airbus. (2014). A380: Boost your profitability. Retrieved from

Aviation Safety Network. (2012, March 4). Canadian Airlines International . Retrieved from

Barrow, Becky. (2006, July 23). Flying on holiday ‘a sin’, says bishop.   Daily Mail Online . Retrieved from

BC Ferries. (2014, June 17). BC Ferries proudly celebrates 50 sears of Service . Retrieved from

BREA. (2013, March). The economic contribution of the international cruise industry in Canada 2012 .  Prepared for:  North West & Canada Cruise Association, St. Lawrence Cruise Association, Atlantic Canada Cruise Association, Cruise BC. Exton, PA: Business Research & Economic Advisors, p. 1-5.

Briggs, Josh.  (2008, May 1). How cruise ships work . Retrieved from

British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways. (n.d.). Frontier to freeway: A short illustrated history of the roads in British Columbia. [PDF] Retrieved from

British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (2012). Connecting with the world: An aviation strategy for British Columbia [PDF] . Retrieved from

Brustein, Joshua and Caroline Winter. (2014, February 28). If Uber is killing taxis, what explains the million-dollar medallions.   Business Week . Retrieved from

Canadian Geographic . (September/October 2000). Canadian aviation history.  Retrieved from

Canadian Museum of Flight. (2014). The history of flight in BC . Retrieved from

Canadian Press. (2013, December 12). BC Ferries crash lawsuit targets electronics firm.   Huffpost British Columbia . Retrieved from

CBC News. (2014, May 12.) MM&A Railway faces charges in Lac-Megantic disaster – Montreal – CBC News . Retrieved fromégantic-disaster-1.2640654

CLIA. (2014, January 16). The state of the cruise industry in 2014: Global growth in passenger numbers and product offerings . Retrieved from

Conference Board of Canada. (2012, September 13). Canada’s airlines hoping to return to the black in 2013. Retrieved from

Cruise BC. (2014). Cruise BC, Canada – Cruise executives . Retrieved from

CTV News. (2014a).  Feds order Via Rail to address ‘safety’ issues at 6 Ottawa railway crossings . Retrieved from

CTV News. (2014b, October 1). Vancouver delays Uber, new cabs for six months. Retrieved from

Cubbon, Paul. (2010, October 22). Rocky economy can’t derail train company. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from

David Suzuki Foundation. (2014). Air travel and climate change. Retrieved from

DBRS. (2010, May). Rating Canadian rental car securitizations . Retrieved from

Dupuis, Jean. (2011, November 16). VIA Rail Canada Inc. and the future of passenger rail in Canada . Ottawa, ON: Library of Parliament. Retrieved from

Economist, The . (2011, December 22). Business quotations: Our favourite air lines . Retrieved from

Gill, Vijay and  R. Neil Raynor. (2013, September).  Growing Canada’s economy: A new national air transportation policy . Ottawa, ON: Conference Board of Canada, p. i -4. 

Government of Canada. (2014a, June 5). The Blue Sky Policy: Made in Canada, for Canada – Transport Canada . Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (2014b, September 3). Railway Safety Act (1985, c. 32 (4th Supp.)) – Transport Canada . Retrieved from

Hermiston, Sandra and Lynda Steele (2014, August 5). Why it costs so much more to fly in Canada. CTV Vancouver News . Retrieved from

Hill, Catey. (2013, February 1). W hat’s behind the river-cruise boom.   Marketwatch . Retrieved from

IATA. (2014a, June). IATA annual review 2014. Retrieved from

IATA. (2014b). IATA-About us. Retrieved from

Impact Project. (2012, January 20). Tracking harm: Health and environmental impacts of rail yards.  The Impact Project Policy Brief Series. [PDF] Retrieved from

InterVISTAS. (2005, April). BC regional airports: A policy guide to viability . [PDF] Prepared for AIM/Council of Tourism Associations, Vancouver, BC. Retrieved from

Keller, James. (2013, April 22). Karl Lilgert, Queen of the North officer, explains how ferry crashed.   Huffpost British Columbia . Retrieved from

Kuittinen, Tero. (2014, September 19). Mobile apps are absolutely murdering San Francisco’s taxi industry. BGR . Retrieved from

Magrath, A. (2014, October 15). Longer than the shard and wider than a Boeing 747 wingspan: The world’s largest cruise ship sails into the UK for the first time.   Mail Online . Retrieved from

Natural Resources Canada. (2013, May 15). Impacts on transportation infrastructure . Retrieved from

Northern Rockies Regional Airport. (2014). History . Retrieved from

Operation Lifesaver Canada. (2014). Train safety FAQ. Retrieved from

Orcutt, April. (2011, November). World’s most beautiful rerry Rides.”   Travel + Leisure . Retrieved from

Owram, Kristine. (2014, July 5). Unfriendly skies await proposed low-cost airlines Canada jetlines, jet naked.   The Financial Post . Retrieved from

Proctor, Benn. (2014, June 3). Opinion: Time to reform Vancouver’s antiquated taxi industry . The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from

PWC. (2012). Transportation & Logistics 2030, volume 5: Winning the talent race. [PDF] Retrieved from

Rocky Mountaineer. (2014). Canadian train travel, trips, rail journeys, vacations, holidays. Rocky Mountaineer . Retrieved from

Science Daily. (2013, June 17). Planes, trains, or automobiles: Travel choices for a smaller carbon footprint. Retrieved from

Tourism Vancouver. (2013, June). Vancouver Tourism master plan. [PDF]  Retrieved from

WestJet. (2014). About WestJet . Retrieved from

YCharts. (2014, September). Apple Profit Margin (Quarterly). Retrieved from


Figure 2.1  Sky Jet   by Jez  is used under a  CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0  license.

Figure 2.2  Airbus 380-800  by Ponte112  is used under a  CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0  license.

Figure 2.3  airplane 036   by MamaMia05  is used under a  CC-BY 2.0  license.

Figure 2.4  C.P.R. Mount Stephen House, Field, BC, 1909   by Musee McCord Museum has  No known copyright restrictions .

Figure 2.5  Sunset Cruise   by Evan Leeson  is used under a  CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0  license.

Figure 2.6  Uniworld River Cruises River Beatrice in Passau Germany   by Gary Bembridge  is used under a  CC-BY 2.0  license.

Figure 2.7   BC Ferry   by David Lewis  is used under a  CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0  license.

Figure 2.8 Lincoln Town Car   by Nathan  is used under a  CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0  license.

Figure 2.9  Baltimore Airport   by Lee Ruk  is used under a  CC-BY-SA 2.0  license.

Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC Copyright © 2015 by Morgan Westcott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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June 18, 2013

tourism vancouver master plan

What’s hot in luxury this summer, Virtuoso has the answers

BermudAir enhances fare structure to offer more choice

BermudAir enhances fare structure to offer more choice

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Tourism Master Plan for Vancouver

  • June 22, 2013

Vancouver has its first ever tourism master plan, developed by Resonance Consultancy, and set to align city and industry interests over a 10-year period.

Tourism Vancouver will work with the city and the port on future development on infrastructure, said a spokesperson for Resonance. He said they are also cognizant of the Lion’s Gate bridge which may not be tall enough for future ships, and new cruise facilities outside the bridge may eventually be considered.

Meanwhile, he said Tourism Vancouver would like to see the recent uptick in cruise traffic continue to build and get past 2015 and the yet unknown ECA impact, before taking the next step.

In the big picture, the master plan analyzes gaps, identified opportunities and establishes priorities to ensure the tourism industry grows in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner, according to Resonance.

The firm stated that an overarching ambition of the plan is to enhance the alignment between the city administration and the tourism business, including the formalization of an ongoing group of city, industry and tourism partnership to oversee master plan actions and report back to industry and residents.

The full report will be completed in early July.

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Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

our path to creating an exceptional hiking experience network Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

2016 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

B Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1 4. The Way Forward 63 4.1 Vision 63 Executive Summary 3 4.2 Goals 63 1. Introduction 7 4.3 Our Unique Selling Proposition 64 1.1 Destination Management Planning 8 4.4 ‘Exceptional’ Hiking Experiences 65 1.2 Project Focus & Planning Process 9 4.5 Hiking Experience Zones 68 1.3 Project Engagement 11 4.6 Creating Our Exceptional Hiking Experience Network 70 1.4 Shifting Focus – The Visitor Experience 14 1.5 Policy & Planning Framework 16 5. Monitoring Our Progress 78

2. Hiking Tourism In The Vancouver Island 6. References 79 and Coast Region Today 18 2.1 The Benefits of Hiking Tourism 18 Appendix A–Stakeholder Engagement Phase 1 A.1 2.2 Visitation & Economic Impact 21 Appendix B–Stakeholder Engagement Phase 2 B.1 3. Destination Analysis 25 3.1 Regional Character 25 3.2 Hiking Trails by Biogeoclimatic Region 27 3.3 Hiking Trails by Recreation Opportunity Setting 29 3.4 Hiking Experience Typologies 31 3.5 Tourism Suitability of Existing Trails 40 3.6 Lifecycle Analysis 45 3.7 Markets of Greatest Potential 48 3.8 Experience Market Match 52 3.9 Current Brands & Marketing 56

i Our hiking tourism master plan lays out a path to develop our network of exceptional hiking experiences Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Acknowledgements

The consulting Team would like to thank Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) for its leadership, inspiration and direction in undertaking this Master Plan to advance hiking tourism in the Vancouver Island and Coast Region. This report would not be possible without the expertise of local hiking trails and tourism partners, and their commitment to enhancing hiking tourism in the Vancouver Island and Coast Region. We acknowledge the substantial amount of time that our partners have contributed to attending the workshops, participating in our interviews and completing our surveys. On behalf of TVI, the consulting team would also like to acknowledge the generous funding provided by the Island Coastal Economic Trust and the many municipal government and regional district partners. Thank you! Stantec Consulting Team Justin Ellis Dolores Altin Ray Freeman Eugene Tomlinson Devon Jenkins

1 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

2 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Executive Summary The Vancouver Island and Coast (VIC) Region which includes Highlights and Key Findings Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Broughton Islands, Discovery Islands and The following report provides a detailed analysis of the hiking tourism the Sunshine Coast offers a wide range of hiking experiences. However market as it relates to both the touring market as well as destination the hiking tourism potential of the VIC Region has yet to be realized. hikers, with a clear understanding of the travelers who are motivated Hiking is becoming a popular activity that supports both the touring to come to hike, what their needs are and what we need to do to market as well as destination hikers. Recent research conducted on strengthen our hiking trailsexperiences to better align with those needs. Vancouver Island suggests that hiking ranks highly as a preferred The study also reviews how travelers are motivated, how they find activity for visitors to the VIC Region. Supporting studies also show information about hiking in the VIC Region and what we can do to significant increase in adventure travel , which includes soft adventures create better awareness around the experiences we offer and compel such as hiking and backpacking . Hiking in British Columbia continues visitation. to be an important activity of choice for visitors coming to the Province. Many communities and local recreational groups within the VIC Region Input from our hiking tourism partners, together with our market recognize the potential positive economic benefits of hiking tourism research, demonstrated that there is a desire to create a network of within their local communities. Many of our stakeholders are working on exceptional hiking experiences. In order to achieve our hiking tourism local initiatives to improve hiking trails infrastructure and experiences potential, we will need to: to satisfy increasing demand. The tourism strategies of Destination • Improve our Trails Infrastructure. BC and Tourism Vancouver Island also support the development and • Offer trip planning logistics—packages. improvement of hiking trail infrastructure, resulting in a synergy of goals and activities. • Improve trails information and wayfinding. The Hiking Tourism Master Plan examines the potential for hiking tourism • Create interpretive programs. within the VIC Region. Building on the Phase 1 inventory of 250 Trails, • Increase accommodations choices and supply and integrate the Master Plan looks closely at the hiking experiences available and with hiking trails. begins to match traveler needs to the hiking experiences that we offer. • Create or enhance amenities such as transportation and other Reflecting the best available research, this plan identifies opportunities services (toilets, restaurants, retail, tours, attractions, events, and to grow our network of exceptional hiking experiences. The VIC Region guiding). has the potential to become one of British Columbia's , and the • Enhance and Coordinate branding and marketing. country’s, most exceptional hiking destinations. • Coordinate stakeholders. As a joint effort between Tourism Vancouver Island and our Hiking • Coordinate management and funding resources. Tourism partners representing industry, academia, business, Provincial and Regional Governments, trail associations and First Nations perspectives, we have come together to promote the VIC Region as a destination for hiking tourism through the recommendations of this Master Plan. This plan provides the foundation for implementation in Phase 3.

3 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Strategies and Recommendations: The strategies and recommendations we have put forward are driven To achieve our Hiking Tourism potential, TVI and our Hiking Tourism by market expectations and are focused on realizing our potential to partners will implement the following key strategies. elevate current hiking experiences in the VIC Region to become a top 1. Enhance existing hiking experiences to become “exceptional’ Canadian destinations for year round touring exploring and destination hiking experiences; hiking. 2. Create an interpretive, story-telling framework; Our competitive advantages include the following: 3. Build awareness of the “exceptional hiking experiences” network; • The VIC Region offers an abundance of hiking trails to choose 4. Maximize the positive benefits of tourism while minimizing the from, with a variety of experiences, for the novice to the negative impacts on the environment, First Nations and host experienced hiker, which presents an opportunity as well as a communities; challenge; 5. Maintain an up-to-date inventory of hiking trails and trails • A key competitive advantage and opportunity for the attributes database; VIC Region to be distinctive is our abundance of coastal 6. Ensure “exceptional hiking experiences” are well managed and destinations; safe; • We offer year round hiking destinations. 7. Collaborate regionally to negotiate private land access and create partnership agreements; 8. Provide the right accommodations and amenities to support our Exceptional Hiking Experiences Network. 9. Make it easier to access the “Exceptional Hiking Experiences Network; 10. Establish sustainable sources of funding.

4 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

5 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

6 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region 1. Introduction Master Plan Scope: Developing a culture around hiking tourism is not an easy feat. It starts with creating a sense of place – of knowing where you are in the Activity—Hiking world. There are a number of factors that contribute to placemaking, Geography—Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands , Broughton Islands, including developing a social and cultural system, built around tradition Discovery Islands & Sunshine Coast (Vancouver Island Region) and the history of belonging and understanding of a landscape, its people and its culture. Hiking is deeply entrenched in the Vancouver Land— Island and Coast (VIC) Region, as both a means of mobility and a • Provincial Parks and Protected Areas & Crown Lands way of exploring its nature, culture and communities. Hiking connects people to place and to each other through a common journey. Today, • National Parks hiking as an activity and as a tourism experience, is growing rapidly, • First Nation Reserves and Treaty Settlement Lands for various reasons, including escape and relaxation to high adventure • Municipal Government Lands pursuits. Our VIC Region's unique landscapes, our climate and our peoples make hiking in the VIC Region unlike hiking anywhere else. • Private Lands including Private Timber Lands Some hikers are motivated to travel to destinations solely because of their hiking experiences while others travel to their destination for other reasons but engage in hikes as a secondary motivation. Whatever the motivation, hiking offers visitors the opportunity to experience the uniqueness of the VIC Region while providing many positive benefits to host communities. Though the VIC Region has a strong supply of hiking experiences, its true potential to be a world class hiking tourism destination has not yet been realized. Recognizing the unmet potential, Tourism Vancouver Island and its hiking tourism partners have developed this master plan to provide direction for hiking tourism development, marketing and management for the next 10 years. It is a framework in which tourism industry partners can work collaboratively towards achieving a shared vision. This study focuses specifically on hiking on Vancouver Island, Broughton Islands, Discovery Islands, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast. Although cycling and mountain biking are also growing as specialized experiences and sometimes share the same trails as hikers, this study remains focused on hiking as an activity and does not address their particular needs.

7 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1.1 Destination Management Planning Destination Management Planning considers how to plan, develop, manage and market our greatest tourism assets; how to create a brand that reflects the diversity of our VIC Region; how we can attract Destination Development Planning the level of investment required to enhance our tourism industry and • Inventory of Assets how we can compel visitors to experience the destination. Destination • Critical Assessment of Tourism Potential Management Planning is a collaborative process in which tourism • Consultation and Collaboration • Investment and Infrastructure organizations, private land owners,government and community leaders collectively plan for the future of and manage a destination based on a shared vision. Destination Management Planning: Unique Tourism Strong Local • Takes advantage of rural and small-town locations to promote and Community and Regional hiking tourism opportunities that will strengthen economic Assets Tourism Network development in ex-urban locations around the VIC Region. • Helps to prioritize economic development through data driven Destination opportunities within the VIC Region. Competitiveness • Takes a long-range, strategic planning approach for developing Destination Destination the hiking experience in the VIC Region. Marketing Management • Strengthens access, support, and marketing that will help to • Research Effective Plans • Effective Structure develop a regional hiking brand, and increase the number • Target Markets and Strategies • Protection of Assets regional and international visitors. • Awareness that Understand • Quality Experiences • Visitation and Yield Trends • Sustainable Growth

Figure 1 Destination Management Planning Tool Source: World Tourism Organization, 2007

8 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1.2 Project Focus & Planning Process As a destination, we offer visitors a wide range of hiking experiences, however; many stakeholders throughout the VIC Region agreed that For the purposes of this study, a ‘hiking trail’ includes the true tourism potential of hiking has yet to be realized. There is a real opportunity to enhance visitor experiences through our trails and to both a contiguous individual trail as well as a improve hiking tourism planning and management as well as elevate “hiking destination systems” where there may be the effectiveness of tourism marketing that will put us closer to realizing a dense network of hiking trails. To be included in this potential. the project the trail must allow hiking, walking and/ or scrambling and it must be, or have the potential Various organizations and governmental departments recognize that there are common opportunities for hiking tourism and have begun to be, attractive to tourists who visit the Vancouver work on the development, enhancement, and collaboration of Island Region. regional trails networks. Committed to growing hiking tourism, TVI established a three phased approach to lead the VIC Region forward: • Phase 1 – Development of an inventory of hiking trails and experiences in the VIC Region • Phase 2 – Development of a Hiking Tourism Master Plan • Phase 3 – Implementation

PHASE THREE PHASE ONE PHASE TWO Strategy Implementation Development and Hiking Trails Inventory Hiking Tourism Master Plan Marketing Completed 2015

9 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Building on the inventory of hiking experiences gathered in the Phase 1 study (2015) the master plan applies a destination management planning lens to match the type, location and market readiness of trails in the VIC Region with visitor demands in order to identify opportunities to enhance hiking tourism over the short and long term. Development of the master plan followed a four-stage process: • Stage 1 – Project Initiation, background research, and stakeholder consultation • Stage 2 – Hiking trails inventory analysis and destination analysis • Stage 3 – Opportunity analysis, Draft Tourism Master Plan, and stakeholder consultation • Stage 4 – Final Hiking Tourism Master Plan

Stage 1 Stage 3 Stage 2 Stage 4 Project Initiation Opportunity analysis Hiking trails inventory and background and Draft Tourism Final Hiking Tourism analysis and destination research, stakeholder Master Plan, stakeholder Master Plan analysis consultation consultation

Figure 2 Hiking Tourism Master Planning Process

10 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1.3 Project Engagement 1.3.2 Engagement Tools To enable our partners to meaningfully engage in the co-creation of 1.3.1 Engaging Our Partners the plan, a variety of engagement tools were used to meaningfully Within the VIC Region, hiking trails are owned and managed by a involve stakeholders including various levels of government, First Nations, range of trails partners, including First Nations, private land owners, not- hospitality, businesses, hiking trails groups and tourism representatives in for-profit trail groups, industry, along with local, regional, provincial and the VIC Region. federal government agencies. Meanwhile, the visitor experiences our 1. MindMixer—January – February, 2016: trails offer are marketed by local, regional and provincial destination 114 Unique Visitors and 813 page views with 66 Active marketing organizations. Its clear, realizing our hiking tourism potential participants. will be dependent on strong partnerships, collaboration and ongoing 2. Stakeholder Interviews—January – February, 2016; conducted support of our hiking tourism partners over the long term. with 16 stakeholders. 3. Big Ideas Workshop—March, 2016. Seventeen participants provided input on a Vision, Goals and opportunities. 4. Draft Master Plan Workshop—April, 2016. Twenty-Five participants in this workshop in Courtenay. A final survey of participant satisfaction with the draft master plan, its ideas and recommendations was distributed. Twenty-Three surveys were returned showing that most participants were supportive of the plan and its ideas. Comments were incorporated into the final By the Numbers: master plan. Engagement Participation

Unique Visitors—MindMixer

Big Ideas 114 17 Workshop Participants

Telephone Interviews Page Views—MindMixer 16

813 Draft Master Plan 25 Workshop Participants

11 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1 Partner Identification Trails Partners Engagement Project Initiation Mind Mixer and Stakeholder 2 Telephone Interviews

"Big Ideas" Workshop Gather Input on Preliminary Ideas, Goals, and Vision 3

Draft Master Plan 4 "Realising Our Potential" Workshop

Final Hiking Trails Tourism 5 Master Plan Presentation

Figure 3 Master Planning Engagement Process

12 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1.3.3 What We Heard Feedback through MindMixer, telephone interviews, the Big Ideas Workshop, and Draft Master Plan workshop provided valuable information from across the VIC Region and from a variety of local and regional stakeholders. Here is what we heard: Common Barriers: • Access to hiking trails and parks through private lands • Limited funding • Lack of a coordinated approach to managing, marketing and promoting hiking trails in the VIC Region Opportunities: • There are a number of hiking trail initiatives taking place across the VIC Region, all in varying stages of design development and implementation. • There is substantial interest in seeing hiking tourism grow in the VIC Region. • Offering multi-day, long distance hikes with supporting accommodations, transportation/equipment transfers between destinations • Having a coordinated transportation network from arrival points (ferries, airports) to destinations and between destinations • Develop and improve the supporting visitor accommodations, amenities and services. Integrate accommodations, amenities and services with trails in the VIC Region. • Having a coordinated, regional marketing and promotions approach – a central repository for trip planning, access and transportation through the VIC Region for hiking and cross promotions that provide relevant and up-to-date information • Partnerships and Agreements with private land owners and First Nations • Having greater connectivity between hiking trails and trail loops

13 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1.4 Shifting Focus – The Visitor Experience “A tourism product is what you buy; a tourism experience is what you remember”1. Our industry is shifting away from selling products and services to developing engaging, authentic and memorable Tourism Product—what you buy experiences. As our tourism offerings progress up the experience spectrum (see Figure 4), our competitive position improves by Tourism Experience—what you remember presenting a stronger proposition to visitors seeking these experiences as does our ability to charge higher rates for the experiences. As a destination, we need to commit to embracing this shift and focusing our attention on experiential travel. This means that we will need to have a better understanding of what hiking experiences the traveler is seeking, as well as where and how we are capable of delivering the hiking experiences that meet the traveller’s expectations. “Experiential travel engages visitors in a series of memorable travel activities that are inherently personal. It involves all senses, and makes connections on a physical, emotional, spiritual, social or intellectual level. It is travel designed to engage visitors with the locals, set the stage for conversations, tap the senses and celebrate what is unique”2 in this region. Experiential travel presents an opportunity for our tourism industry to stimulate visitation by creating enticing experiences designed to attract travelers to special places, people and cultures within our communities and across our region. This master plan looks deeper into the hiking experience in the VIC Region to see what hiking experiences we offer, what other attractions and services are needed and how we can package or enhance those experiences to differentiate our VIC Region and create a network of exceptional hiking experiences.

What persuades a potential visitor to holiday in a particular destination is that destination’s ability to engage in unforgettable and truly inspiring experiences that touch visitors in an emotional way and connect them with special places, people and cultures. (Hero Experiences, Queensland Tourism)

14 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Experience + Tour Packaging

Services, Amenities, Attractions + Accomodations

Way nding, Storytelling, Trail Information + “What captivates us now is special stuff, stuff Trip Planning that only a few of us can get, stuff that stands Uniqueness for something or symbolizes something. And, more compelling than stuff, are experiences— Activity events, trips, places, sounds, tastes that are out of the ordinary, memorable in their own right, precious in their uniqueness and fulfilling in a way that seems to make us more than we Setting were… Some describe this phenomenon as ‘the experience economy’”3

Tourism Bene ts

Figure 4 Hiking Experience Spectrum (Experience Spectrum, Tourism Queensland – Adapted from Pine & Gilmore, 1998).

15 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

1.5 Policy & Planning Framework Tourism throughout the VIC Region is guided and influenced by several different policies, strategies and plans from the National to local level. Some are focused on tourism in general, while others describe a more Government of Canada comprehensive approach to policy planning that support active transportation, the health and well-being of the population and • Welcoming the World

NATIONAL environment as a whole. The intention of National and Provincial tourism strategies is to strengthen Government of British Columbia Policies the tourism sector as a whole in order to open opportunities for • Destination BC – Sustainable Tourism economic development in all regions. High level policies touch on positioning ourselves relative to other markets, and identify the need for • Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan a coordinated approach to attracting tourism dollars. The BC Tourism • Gaining the Edge: A 5 year Tourism Strategy for BC Strategy outlines a 5 year strategy that builds on the already established • Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy for BC “Super Natural British Columbia” brand, reinforced by the 2010 Winter 4

PROVINCIAL and BC Trails Strategy: BC’s Action Plan to implement Olympics. (See Gaining the Edge 2015–2018 ). a Trails Strategy Within outdoor adventure and eco-tourism experiences which British • Various programs that promote health and fitness Columbia is well known for, hiking has been identified as a global such as Healthy Families BC activity and visitor trend that can be strengthened regionally to draw a range of visitors towards building a key world class brand and unique Regional Plans and Policies visitor experience. In addition, the touring market in BC has been identified as a key opportunity market where hiking is listed as one of • Parks and Recreation Master plans the top activities visitors take part in. • Strategic Plans and Trails Management Plans such as: –– Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

REGIONAL –– Capital Regional District –– Cowichan Valley Regional District –– Regional District of Nanaimo The Hiking Tourism Master Plan –– And others will support and advance the “Trails Strategy for BC”. 4

16 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Provincial policy has provided support for implementation of a Provincial trails strategy through an action plan framework. As a key theme in creating a world class visitor experience, recreation trails infrastructure for hikers, (as well as for other trail users) has been “First Nations have used trails for travel and acquiring identified as a top priority. BC’s sustainable trails network is founded sustenance throughout history. Early European explorers on six key components according to the “Trails Strategy for British and settlers to British Columbia relied on these already Columbia” (2012) that provide a planning and implementation established trails and added to their unique histories. framework for the development of the trails network over the coming years. The BC Trails Strategy supports other provincial initiatives, Nine heritage trails, totaling over 500 km, have been including: designated in B.C. under the Heritage Conservation Act. In addition, some First Nations are actively involved • Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan in protecting trails, and in managing and promoting • Gaining the Edge: A 5 year Strategy for Tourism in BC, 2015–2018 responsible trail use that respects cultural values.”5 • Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy for BC • Various programs that promote health and fitness, such as Healthy Families BC Local municipal and regional policies laid out in parks and trails Master Plans, as well as cycling and pedestrian Master Plans also reflect Increasing Diversity of Users support for walking and hiking. By building on The BC Trails Strategy, “There is growing recognition of the increasing this master plan aims to connect various organizations and institutions diversity of users and the need to reflect diverse who are all working independently to further trails development and values in trail planning and management. One of the support hiking trails tourism in their respective roles and jurisdictions, by factors contributing to the increase in demand for encouraging partnerships and creating a shared vision to advance trails is the growing number of activities occurring on hiking tourism. trails. Competing demands for trails and recreation opportunities often reflect different values and can lead to friction between user groups.” 5

Increasing Transportation Role for Trails “Trails are playing a greater transportation role as greener alternatives become increasingly popular.” 5

17 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region 2. Hiking Tourism In The Vancouver Island and Coast Region Today

2.1 The Benefits of Hiking Tourism Tourism may bring diverse benefits to communities if the right mix of appealing experiences, services and amenities are provided. As visitation increases, communities and their economies may become more competitive enabling host communities to develop new and/ or enhance existing experiences. As tourism grows in the VIC Region, host communities begin to realize the economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits of tourism (see Figure 5)6 .

Increasing Recognition of Economic Benefits “Recreation trails are becoming recognized as drivers of economic development and tourism. It is also becoming apparent that economic benefits can even increase if trails are designed and managed as a network of interlinked connections between communities and a range of attractions.” 5

18 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Tourism can… Tourism can… • Enhance the quality of life in • Diversify the economic base communities by stimulating investment Tourism can… as visitor spending leads in transportation, recreational facilities, • Raise the profile of natural assets to the creation of new and entertainment and other services that and issues surrounding them expanded enterprises. benefit both locals and visitors. as effective visitor information • Create employment • Help to preserve a region’s cultural services, interpretative signing, opportunities for both skilled heritage—including its traditional ways, guided tours, etc. allow visitors and less-skilled employees who places, spaces and stories—as they and locals to learn. are young and old. become the assets on which experiences • Enhance the rationale for • Encourage new businesses as are based. conservation, preservation tourism operations depend • Elevate local community awareness and and restoration of natural and on the services of other pride by sharing the community with built resources on the basis of sectors such as construction, visitors and taking ownership for their their revenue generation and transportation, and agriculture. experiences. importance to local economies. • Stimulate increased • Contribute to population retention or even • Inspire a culture of conservation commercial and residential re-population of rural areas as tourism as local residents and visitors development as enhanced provides employment opportunities or learn more about a region’s tax revenues flow to local amenity development attracts “would be wildlife, ecosystems and ENVIRONMENTAL

ECONOMIC governments. COMMUNITY, SOCIAL,COMMUNITY, CULTURAL residents” from the urban centers. ecosystem processes. BENEFITS OF TOURISM Figure 5 Benefits of Tourism

19 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

2.1.1 Economic Benefits of Trails Recreation trails are becoming recognized as drivers of economic development through tourism. Trails provide opportunities to develop commercial recreation businesses as well supporting services which boost economic activity in host communities. Research suggests that the magnitude of economic benefits can increase if trails are designed and managed as a network of interlinked connections between communities while providing a range of complimentary attractions, access and amenities (p. 9).7 Research shows ample evidence The Government of Canada announced a major job-creating that trails not only enable Canadians to live actively in a healthier investment in the 2009-2010 Economic Action Plan, with a commitment environment, but also that trails most often economically benefit both to invest $25 million in recreational trail infrastructure. During this time adjacent landowners and the local business community. 70% of all over $23.2 million of federal government funding was distributed by trail users spent money on non-durable goods leading to job creation the National Trails Coalition on to infrastructure investments in 474 and increased property values for adjacent land owners.8 Trails in recreational trail projects across Canada. Funding partners including Canada are largely built and maintained volunteers and non-profit organizations, often with support from local communities and various provincial and municipal governments provided another $33.3 million. levels of government. Governments may encourage community groups The total investment in these projects amounted to $56.5 million (p. to adopt sections of trails because it encourages people to build and 10). The 2009-2010 National Trails Coalition program created jobs and maintain sections of trail that can mobilize volunteer resources and increased opportunities for tourism at a time when there was a strong obtain corporate contributions. Additionally, municipal recreation need for economic stimulus across Canada (p. 11).10 departments, provincial government agencies and regional, provincial or national park authorities manage and operate trails. Trail development may also be possible through the support of private landowners. Successful trail development and management occurs when volunteers, landowners, local businesses and government work together (p. 5).9

20 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

2.2 Visitation & Economic Impact With over 3.8 million person-visits and $1.3 billion in related spending, Local, regional and provincial data on hiking tourism is scarce and tourism is one of major economic drivers in the VIC Region. Destination disparate. However, in 2015, Vancouver Island University and The British Columbia (BC) (2015) indicates that this region represents 21% of Sociable Scientists conducted a series of regional visitor profile studies provincial over-night visitation and 15% of related spending. (through surveys) in the following communities and regions: Vancouver Island North, Campbell River and Region, Comox Valley, Parksville “The most common outdoor recreational activity of BC residents is Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni , Tofino, and Nanaimo. The research ‘Hiking – Day Trip,’ with over half (55%) reporting that they participated found that the VIC Region is very appealing destination for travelers in this during the past year (p.10).” “The motivating factors for interested in hiking. Visitors were asked to indicate what activities participation in outdoor recreational activities are spending quality they participated in during their stay and hiking ranked highly in most time with family and friends, being closer to/experiencing the natural studied communities.12 environment, and resting, relaxing and recuperating (p. 42).”11 Hiking and backpacking is one of the most popular activities and traveler motivators for visitors originating from British Columbia and the rest of Canada (Destination BC, 2015). In fact, hiking or backpacking was ranked the second and third most popular outdoor activity undertaken by these markets.

Hiking Ranks High For Visitors! For some travelers, hiking is the primary travel motivator. 36% Campbell River Meanwhile other travelers may be motivated to travel for other reasons but may still engage in hiking as a secondary activity during their trip. It is important that destination planners Comox Valley 27% consider and plan to meet the needs and expectations of both. The Vancouver Island Region is uniquely positioned to package, Vancouver Island North 32% build marketing strategies and travel itineraries cross-promote to both destination hikers and touring markets. 27% Alberni Valley

53% Parksville Qualicum Beach

% of visitors who chose hiking as an activity

21 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

2.2.1 Canadian Hikers 2.2.2 American Hikers The 2006 TAMS (Traveler Activity and Motivations Survey) estimated Hiking or backpacking was not one of the top 5 activities for US or other that a total of 5.6 million Canadian travelers visited British Columbia international visitors who visited British Columbia. However, visiting a in 2004/05. Among these travelers, 36% participated in hiking while National, Provincial or Nature Park was and it could be reasonably on at least one trip in the past two years and approximately 10% assumed that hiking, backpacking and/or walking on trails in these were motivated hiking travelers (travelers for whom hiking was the parks is a regular activity in which these markets engage. primary reason for taking at least one trip). Of the estimated 1.4 million Among the estimated 7 million US travelers who had visited BC in Canadians who were primarily motivated by a hiking activity as part 2004/05, 35% participated in hiking, while 11% were motivated to travel of their travel in 2004/2005, 38% had travelled to British Columbia in the for a hiking experience. Of the estimated 9.8 million US travelers who same time period. BC travelers were much more likely than Canadians are motivated to travel for hiking, approximately 8% had made a trip to overall to travel within the province, with 95% of motivated hiking British Columbia in 2004/05.16 travelers taking a trip. A same-day hiking excursion was the most popular activity for 13.3% of Over the period from 2004-2006, 25.4% (6,281,852) of adult Canadians adult Americans in this activity segment. American hiking travelers were went hiking, climbing and paddling while on an out-of-town, overnight young compared to the typical American pleasure traveler, with the trip of one or more nights. Hiking as a same-day excursion (18.1%) was largest age group of same day and overnight backpack hikers being the most popular activity (p. 1). One in four Canadian motivated to between the ages of 18 to 34. travel for hiking were between 18–34 years of age. Hikers… tended to stay in public campgrounds while on trips (p. 12).15 Hikers… were more likely than the average US. Pleasure Traveler to take a trip to Canada. A consistent theme in the vacation activities of Hikers… while on trips… was ‘getting close to nature’. They were also more likely Canadian Hikers… are more likely than the average Canadian than average to stay in public campgrounds when on a trip (p. 1).17 Pleasure Traveler to read the travel section of newspapers, For many Vancouver Island residents and travelers to the VIC Region, watch travel shows on television and visit travel websites. This the natural environment is particularly important. Effective sustainable segment may also be effectively targeted through science tourism development requires careful consideration of all tourism and nature media (e.g., science and geography magazines, activities in order to facilitate mitigation strategies for negative impacts science and nature television shows, science fiction television from development (construction), access (transportation), supply shows) and electronic product media (p. 19).22 chain (food, restaurants), accommodations (carbon footprint), and attractions (hiking, motorized recreation).18

Most American Hikers… use the Internet to plan their trips and the large majority (60.8%) book travel online. Relative to the average US Pleasure Traveler, they are much more likely to obtain information from travel guide books, official government travel guides and visitor information centres. The most effective media for reaching this segment includes nature and science magazines and television programs and travel related websites, magazines and television programs (p. 1).23

22 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast

There were, however; age differences between US and Canadian hiking travelers in the older age categories. The overwhelming majority of overnight backpacking Canadian hikers was under the age of 55 (92%). This was less so with the same-day excursion hikers, where a lesser majority were under 55 (83%).

2.2.3 Drive Tourism Touring vacations and touring and exploring are identified as a key tourism product by the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and offer some of the most significant short-term and long-term visitor volume potential for BC according to “Gaining the Edge: 2015-2018” 19 Touring and exploring vacations are also known as ‘drive tourism’ and may be defined as “the act of taking a leisure trip in ones own, borrowed, or rented vehicle”. This form of tourism includes travel where a motorhome, fifth wheel, trailer or camper is the primary means of accommodation. It also includes travel where a vehicle is used as the primary form of transport, and tents, hotels , lodges or B&Bs, or other structures are used for accommodation.”20 These vacation types are popular and convenient in North America particularly for families travelling with young children and for Europeans who generally come to Canada for longer stays. However, drive vacations are vulnerable to increased gas prices. More research is needed to fully understand why people choose to take holidays of this type, how they choose their destinations and “how they behave and make decision whilst on holidays.” (Hardy, A. 2006, p. 21, UNBC). A Drive Market study conducted in BC in 2009 revealed that British Columbia residents accounted for 38% of the provinces drive tourism market which Alberta and Ontario each accounted for 15% of the market. This market is interested in sightseeing (76%), opportunities for relaxation (60%), and the availability of nature / scenery / parks (56%). Factors that influence destination choice include: Natural Features / Landscapes (73%), and Available Outdoor Activities (33%), both supportive attributes of hiking tourism opportunities.21

23 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

The majority of hikers take vacations to…

73.5% Get a break from the day to day routine Most Important Destination 70.2% Relax and relieve stress 5 Attributes 1. Feeling safe (57.8%) Create lasting memories 57.9 % 2. No health concerns (43.5%) 3. Lots for adults to see and do (41.7%) 54.9% Enrich relationships 4. Convenient access by car (41.4%) 5. Availability of mid-range accommodations (28.1%) 53.5% To see or do something different Source: Lang Research Inc, 2006

While visiting they also… Most Popular Information Sources For Trip Planning • Stroll to see city buildings • Visit a nature park 78.8% Internet website • Sunbathe • Swim (oceans & lakes) 62.5% Word of mouth • Visit well known natural wonders • Visit historic sites or buildings and museums 60.4% Past experience • Enjoy arts including live arts • Go to farmers markets & fairs 43.6% Maps • Participate in cultural activities including aboriginal cultural experiences 37.1% Travel guides

Hikers are unlikely to seek information about the destination through *travel shows, electronic newsletters or television ads.

Source: TAMS (2006)

24 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast 3. Destination Analysis 3.1.2 Hiking Tourism Experiences Visitors, expectations for hiking experiences are very different. Some visitors prefer the mountains, other visitors like coastal hikes, some seek 3.1 Regional Character high adventure while other gravitate to gentle strolls. To appeal to the The VIC Region is one of the warmest climates in Canada with dry warm greatest diversity of visitors, it is also important that the trail systems summers and mild, but wet, winters. Unlike most regions in Canada, the reflect the natural diversity of the study areas as well as the full range of favourable climate enables the VIC Region to position itself as a year- recreation and tourism settings from backcountry wilderness to urban round destination for hiking experiences. From coastal rainforests to areas. alpine mountain peaks, remote backcountry to urban centers, the VIC “Tourism opportunity” is defined as the ability for a person to engage Region offers a diversity that is unmatched by most. Our unique coastal in a preferred activity within a preferred setting to obtain a desired landscape offers hiking experiences that make us different from other experience. This underscored the importance of inventorying the parts of BC. We also have 2 UNESCO biosphere reserves! features that facilitate activities and the settings in which the activities occur, which are equally important to understanding the supply of 3.1.1 Hiking Trails in the Vancouver Island and Coast recreation opportunities. Hiking trails were mapped according to Region Provincial Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) data set where Our analysis the Phase 1 inventory of trails revealed that the majority data existed. Where ROS data was unavailable, the inventory relied on of hiking experiences offered in the VIC Region were in the easy to self ‑reported data. moderate difficulty category and were within a "mid‑country" setting. This indicates that most of the trails inventoried are accessible by the touring/ exploring market and require limited to no special skills or equipment. Of the 250 trails (2,124.7 km) that were inventoried, many of them are in good to fair condition with management plans in place.

[Activity + Setting] × Natural Region = Experience

Tourism Opportunity—the ability for a person to Community Health + engage in a preferred activity within a preferred Wellness setting to obtain a desired experience. Financial Hiking Tourism Master Plan TRAILS:Vancouver Island and Coast Region BY THE NUMBERS

Trails on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and 250 the Sunshine Coast = 2,124.7 km tr A i l D i ffi c u lt y tr A i l S by to u r i S m tr A i l c o n D i t i o n S e t t i n g 3.0% Good Fair 21.8% Poor

1468 EASY MODERATE DIFFICULT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT KM 75.2% 426 630 km 946 km 368 km 181 km 231 KM KM Front-country Back-country Mid-country

A p p r ovA l S tAt u S m A S t e r o r m A n Ag e m e n t p l A n tr A i l S by n At u r A l r eg i o n

Approved YES 83% In-progress Unapproved 2% UNKNOWN 4% 2% NO 13% 3% 71% 26% 96% of trails inventoried 26 are covered by Coastal Western Hemlock Coastal Douglas-Fir 89% insurance Mountain Hemlock Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.2 Hiking Trails by Biogeoclimatic Region From this analysis, its clear that the distribution of our hiking experiences – as inventoried - do not fully or equally represent the VIC Region’s Blessed with immense natural diversity, it is important that while ecosystems. This suggests there is opportunity to diversify the VIC Region’s planning for the future of hiking tourism in the VIC Region, we consider hiking opportunities ensuring visitors can experience the region’s natural how we feature the region's natural diversity to visitors. To do so, diversity. Our current supply of trails occur mostly within Coastal Western the distribution of existing hiking trails by biogeoclimatic zones was Hemlock zones and the Coastal Douglas Fir zone. The Coastal Douglas evaluated. Biogeoclimatic zones are a classification system used to Fir Zone provides a unique ecological area, characterized by rare describe and map the province’s ecosystems. The VIC Region contains Garry Oak ecosystems, wildflowers and Arbutus trees. It is limited to the five distinct biogeoclimatic zones; coastal Douglas fir, coastal mountain Southeastern Vancouver Island (Victoria and Gulf Islands) occurring hemlock, coastal western hemlock, mountain hemlock and alpine in comparatively lower elevations below 150 m. Very few trailheads tundra. The distribution of hiking trails within each biogeoclimatic zone occurred in the Coastal Mountain Hemlock zone, characterized by higher are as follows: elevations between the densely forested Western Hemlock Zone22 and the treeless Alpine Tundra Zone. The distribution of hiking trails within each of the biogeoclimatic zones is shown on the following map.

Coastal Douglas-Fir 64 Trails = 398 km

Coastal Mountain Hemlock 8 Trails = 56 km

Coastal Western Hemlock 178 Trails = 1,671 km Biogeoclimatic zone - a Mountain Hemlock and geographic area having 0 Trails = 0 km similar patterns of energy Alpine Tundra flow, vegetation and soils (but some trails cross this zone) as a result of a broadly homogenous macroclimate

27 Port Hardy

Campbell River

Powell River

Port Nanaimo Alberni Tofino

Hiking Tourism Master Plan Port Vancouver Island and Coast Region Renfrew

Victoria Legend

Study Boundary

Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, Ma jorCNES/Airbus City DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community TVI Trail Head Locations Legend Coastal Douglas-fir Study Boundary Coastal Douglas-fir Coastal estern emlock Maor City Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine Mountain emlock Port Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine Hardy TV Trail ead Locations Coastal Western Hemlock

Mountain Hemlock TORSM VANCOVR SLAND 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11)

Campbell River Figure 6 Biogeoclimatic Zones

Port Renfrew

Source: Esrl, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyInda, ©OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community 28 Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Legend Study Boundary Coastal Douglas-fir Coastal estern emlock Maor City Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine Mountain emlock TV Trail ead Locations

TORSM VANCOVR SLAND 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11) Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.3 Hiking Trails by Recreation Opportunity Setting Some visitors prefer remote, isolated environments with few comforts Back-Country of home, while other visitors expect easy access, frequent interaction Back Country experiences as described using the ROS system occur in with others and all the creature comforts. Meanwhile others prefer remote areas with limited evidence of development and industry. Basic something in the middle. Whatever one’s preference is, the VIC Region infrastructure such as composting toilets and single track trails may be offers visitors the full range of recreation and tourism settings. romF the available. Back country trails may be accessible via rough roads or front-country areas near our urban centers to the remote backcountry motorized trails, and interactions with others are infrequent. Emergency areas of the north island, we offer a little something for everyone. response in these areas is limited. Recognizing different visitors prefer different recreation settings, it is The phase 1 inventory together with the provincial Recreation important to evaluate how the VIC Region’s hiking trails are distributed Opportunity Spectrum dataset (where it existed) was analyzed to across recreation settings. determine the distribution of hiking trails by recreation and tourism Front-Country setting. As shown in Table 1, the currently trail supply is highly According to the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, Front Country concentrated in the mid-country setting. experiences occur nearby urban, exurban or rural centres. These Table 1 Distribution of Hiking Trails by Recreation and Tourism are landscapes that have been substantially modified by human Setting development and may not appear as natural in the wilderness. Visitor infrastructure (i.e., paved trails) and amenities such as washrooms and running water are readily available. The area is easily accessible by car Recreation and Tourism Setting # of Trails and by bus or through organized tours and interaction with other visitors Front Country (Urban) 26 is frequent. Emergency response in these areas is readily available. Front to Mid Country 6 Mid-Country Mid country (Rural) 169 The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum describes a Mid-Country experience occurring in natural settings where human developments Mid to Back Country 11 are obvious, but often integrated within wilderness areas. Visitor Back Country 38 infrastructure includes groomed trails (hard surface, gravel or natural conditions) and many amenities such as toilets and running water are A common misconception is that the VIC Region offers only advanced, frequently available. The area is accessible by car and interaction with hiking experiences that require top fitness, special skills, and equipment. other visitors is possible to frequent. Emergency response in these areas This may be in part attributed to well-known multi-day rugged hiking is available but likely to be delayed. As hikers progress from Front to trails such as the West Coast Trail or North Coast, or Sunshine Coast Mid to Back-Country Experiences, levels of supporting services may be Trails. As supported by the data, the reality is that the VIC Region offers restricted. something for everyone and many that are in close proximity from urban centres.

29 Port Hardy

Port Hiking Tourism Master Plan Renfrew Vancouver Island and Coast Region Victoria Legend

Study Boundary Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, Maswisstopo,jor City and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Back-Country Legend Study Boundary Coastal Douglas-fir Coastal estern emlock Back & Mid-Country Maor City Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine Mountain emlock TV Trail ead Locations Port Mid-Country Hardy Mid-Country & Front-Country

Front-Country TORSM VANCOVR SLAND 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11)

Figure 7 Recreation/

Campbell Tourism Setting River Hiking Trails

Source: Esrl, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyInda, ©OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community 30 Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Legend Study Boundary Back-Country Mid-Country Front-Country Maor City Back Mid-Country Front-Country Mid-Country

TORSM VANCOVR SLAND 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11) Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast

3.4 Hiking Experience Typologies Understanding and focusing on the visitor is one of the most important aspects of planning and delivering desirable hiking tourism experiences. The most successful destinations focus detailed attention on understanding who their best visitors are, where they come from, what these visitors want to experience and how best to communicate with them to compel them to visit. Though market research on hiking travelers is sparse and disparate, a new typology of hiking experiences was developed by combining market research from the Explorer Quotient, Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Adventure Traveler Types and professional experience. Creation of a typology allows tourism developers and trails planners to ensure the hiking experiences are being designed, first and foremost, with the target markets’ expectations in mind. Creation of the experience typology also allows planners to evaluate whether the distribution of hiking experience by type and by geography.

Know the Visitor

Successful Tourism & Recreation Destination Provide Reach the Exceptional Visitor Visitor Experiences & Manage the Destination

31 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Three distinct trail experience typologies were developed although we recognize that travelers, especially the two "Learner" groups of Cultural Explorers and Authentic Experiencers, may at times move between the Hiking, as a segment of the adventure tourism marketing is Strolls and Excursions trail types. Of greater importance is the setting of experiencing growth.23 In addition, according to a drive market realistic expectations for these trail types. This was based on the profiles study conducted in 2009, travelers to BC are interested primarily of traveler types and the settings for hiking throughout the VIC Region in sightseeing and available outdoor activities, both of which that describe the level of challenge and biogeoclimatic zone that they are key factors that influence hiking tourism opportunities. would be most drawn to for their preferred hiking experience. The three EQ types were also chosen based on the target groups identified in the tourism strategic plans of Destination BC and Destination Canada. Trail operators and tourism planners should use these typologies to guide the planning and design of hiking tourism experiences. This general guidance will help to ensure that traveler experiences are consistently delivered throughout the VIC Region and that the brand promise of the VIC Region’s exceptional network of hiking experiences is maintained.

Trail Experience Types

Strolls Excursions Epic Adventures Easy & short distance beginner coastal or Intermediate day or multi-day coastal or Strenuous back country or epic adventure inland, agricultural day hikes on well- marked inland forested hikes with some amenities, hikes in remote or places requiring trail heads and groomed paths. often combined with cultural/historic/natural coordinated transportation access. Often interpretive experiences. Usually self-guided multi-day or long distance treks on rugged This may be combined with cultural or historic and could be along some semi-rugged terrain terrain or with high elevation gain, requiring attractions or nature guided or organized tours. with challenging aspects (higher elevation special gear and physical fitness for the Easy access from urban centres or small gain or rock scrambling, repelling requiring experienced hiker. Trails may be guided or towns with accommodations such as resorts , some fitness. Tours and Accommodations self-guided but not always well- marked and hotel , B&B’s. Modest or no elevation gain. No available such as cabins, organized camping , with few or no amenities. Backpacking or special skills or equipment needed. Appeals or B&B’s. Authentic Experiences would be an camping in full nature immersion or remote to a broad range of visitors new to an area. important target for these trails, which allow wilderness lodges and fly-in. Free Spirits would Cultural Explorers would be an important these travelers to explore and experience be an important target group, looking for the target, by combining cultural elements on nature farther from the influence of people. grand experience that is worthy of sharing these strolls with other cultural experiences Some physical challenges are expected, with friends. Physical challenges add to the in the regions. This group is less interested in allowing them to better connect with nature. value of the 'story' they will relate when they the physical challenge, and more focused on are done. understanding the social environment.

32 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Table 2 Hiking Experience Type



Strolls Excursions Epic Adventures Market Primary EQ Group Cultural Explorers Authentic Experiencers Free spirits Segment (ATTA) Traveler Types Grazer Adventurer Enthusiast—specialized skills Appeal Traveler Motivations Family Time—exploring new Casual or Leisure hiker—exploring Exploring New Places—exciting Characteristics places, social, educational, and new places, escapes new activities, ego cultural experiences Hiking Experience Casual/leisure hiker All levels of experience Experienced–Expert Fitness Level Not focused on the physical Expect periodic strenuous activity Expect sustained strenuous activity aspects of the hike Adventure Suitability Soft Adventure Moderate Adventure Hard Adventure Type Risk High control & moderate Moderate control & moderate Moderate control & low predictability predictability predictability Difficulty Green Blue–Black Black–Double Black Skill Level Requires no to little specialized May require some specialized skills Requires advanced or specialized skills skills Terrain Very little elevation gain – Moderately challenging with Challenging terrain – strenuous. accessible with least abilities some elevation gain – accessible Long distances or high elevation and no skills – easy. Asphalt or to a broad range of abilities. or sustained gain – scrambling or groomed trails. Well defined routes Narrow and potentially un- portaging may be required. in urban or exurban locations. groomed trails with loose materials. Trip Duration Few hours to overnight - cultural Few hours to overnighter— Single day to multi-day with experiences weekend escape overnight stays Recreation & Tourism Setting (ROS) Front-country Front-country to Mid-country Mid-country to Back-country

33 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Strolls Excursions Epic Adventures Visual Character Modified Forest or Coastal Modified Forest Landscape or Preservation or pristine wilderness Landscape on a medium to Coastal Landscape on a small habitat. Human impact may or large scale and highly altered. to medium scale but still natural may not be evident on a small (Agriculture, Urban parks trails) looking with predominantly native scale. Alterations in landscape or Managed forest with patches of species. Evidence of managed logging are not visible or not easily native species. forest. distinguishable from pre-harvest landscape. Nature Exposure Bird Watching, Whale Watching. Bird Watching. Fishing, Whale Bird Watching, fishing. Possible Fish Hatchery. Experiences in watching in exurban or rural or likely encounters with bears, controlled settings. I.e. Rapture settings. Possible encounters with cougars & raptures in their native park (Cowichan Valley), deer, bears, cougars & raptures habitats. Indigenous fish aquarium in their native habitats as well as (Ucluelet) Interpretive or tour squirrels and raccoons. guided experiences. Chance encounters with deer, skunks, squirrels, raccoons and other wildlife acclimatized to urban settings. Trip Planning Pre Arrival online or from car Pre Arrival online or from car Pre Airport arrival online, travel rental, visitor centre or hotel rental, visitor centre or hotel magazines, tour packages 5A’s of Tourism Access Ferry Ferry Ferry Personal Vehicle Bus shuttle Water taxi Car rental or Modo Water taxi Float plane - helicopter City bus Car rental or personal vehicle Car rental or personal 4wheel- drive?

34 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Strolls Excursions Epic Adventures Attractions • Winery tours • Winery tours • Wildlife viewing • Whale Watching and fishing • Whale Watching and fishing • Star gazing charters charters • Fishing • Gardens and ancient forests • Gardens and ancient forests • Ancient forests • Markets, agricultural based • Markets, agricultural based • First Nations cultural and local products and local products experiences • Museums, totems, murals and • Museums, totems, murals and old architecture old architecture • First Nations cultural • First Nations cultural experiences experiences • Other recreation activities • Other recreation activities such as fishing, skiing and such as fishing, skiing and golfing golfing Amenities Printed maps, integrated driving Printed maps, signage, Maps, signage, wayfinding, trails and trails maps Roadway and trail wayfinding, trails reviews, & digital reviews& digital wayfinding signage, wayfinding, wayfinding Public toilets, signage, retail Public toilets, signage, restaurants Telecommunications and shopping, restaurants and cafes, and cafes, visitor centres emergency services visitor centres

35 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Strolls Excursions Epic Adventures Awareness • Guidebooks • Guidebooks • Guidebooks Niche Magazines/E-Zines/ Niche Magazines/E-Zines/ Niche Magazines/E-Zines/ Travel News Sites Travel News Sites Travel News Sites • Web Searches • Web Searches • Web Searches • Travel Blogs • Travel Blogs • Travel Blogs • Word of Mouth • Word of Mouth • Word of Mouth • Social Media, DMO websites, • Social Media, DMO websites • Social Media, DMO websites local government websites • Local Service Providers • Specialty stores/ Outfitters (MEC, RAI) Accommodations • Hotel/ Resort • Cabin or Hut to Hut • Rustic camping • Lodges • B&B or cottage • Huts, Yurts • B&B or cottages • Organized tent camping, RV • Cabins Camping • Organized tent camping • Back-country lodges • Yurts • Organized RV camping • Cabins • Lodges

36 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Strolls Excursions Epic Adventures Tourism Guiding Equipment/ Retail outdoor gear (footwear, Retail outdoor gear (footwear, Retail outdoor gear (footwear, Services that Gear Outfitters, clothing) clothing, camping equipment) clothing, specialized camping would apply cultural Interpretive equipment) to hiking trails programs, nature Interpretive tours Interpretive tours Guiding services / Interpretive tours tourism interpretation, Food, beverage, grocery, Food, beverage, grocery, Food, beverage, grocery, restaurants, etc. restaurants, cafes nearby restaurants, cafes within a short restaurants, cafes in gateway town accommodations for daily needs drive for daily needs for before/after trail hike. (Proximity to trail head?) Fuel not required, or available Fuel Fuel for purchase (organized car tent camping) Running water and flush toilets Note: some amenities may be Note: amenities may be limited or limited or unavailable pump unavailable no running water (boil (outhouse) required) Telecommunications Wi fi available on trails or in Wi fi not available but periodic Short wave radio or possible Wi fi if nearby centre internet access would be located near a cell tower acceptable.

37 Port Hardy

Victoria Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, EarthstarLegend Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, S©tudy OpenStreetMap Boundary contributors, and the GIS user community Legend Major City Study Boundary pics Maor City xcursions Epics Strolls Excursions

Port Strolls Hardy TORSM VANCOVR SLAND 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11)

Figure 8 Trail Experience Typology Campbell River

Source: Esrl, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyInda, ©OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community 38 Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Legend Study Boundary pics Maor City xcursions Strolls

3.4.1 Hiking Trails by Experience Type The VIC Region offers an abundance of trails to suit the front and mid ‑country easy to moderate hiking experience, which can be taken in by either the touring/exploring or destination hiker market. These are primarily stroll and excursion hiking experiences clustered along the coastline, near urban centres where they are easily accessible and reflect settlement patterns in the VIC Region.

116 Excursions

39 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.5 Tourism Suitability of Existing Trails • Partnerships, packaging, and promotions with secondary attractions add value to the visitor experience and may assist in In order to create successful hiking tourism destinations, there needs extending trip length to be a good understanding of what makes them successful. We know there are several potential benefits associated with hiking trails tourism • Connecting the trails to the communities act as gateways destinations, but what are the key factors that lead to successful or hubs, providing supporting services and amenities outcomes when developing this niche? The most important factors that (accommodations, restaurants, retail, and information) contribute to the overall success of hiking tourism destinations include: • Distances and interconnectedness of trails requires cooperation between regional and adjacent stakeholders. • Collaboration amongst key stakeholder groups (public and private sector partners); this is particularly critical to the In addition: development of long distance hiking trails that potentially cross • A professional, collaborative and consistent approach to several jurisdictions marketing • Uniqueness of trails. • Reliable and sustainable funding, management, and Other key factors that enhance trail experiences include: maintenance for trails • A focus on the visitor experience (pre, during and post trip) is crucial • Host community and volunteer support (public, private, and non- profit) is required to fulfill various critical roles. • Promotion and interpretation of unique trail features and attributes such as cultural and heritage attractions are an important component of visitor experience • Commercial or private business often support co-creating and integration with visitor experiences

40 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Hiking experience that is well- known or has the potential to attract international Provides moderate travellers levels of infrastructure Relatively and supporting services undeveloped currently being marketed $ $ $ most basic hiking to potential visitors experience

Tourism Readiness


Figure 9 Tourism Readiness Scale

41 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.5.1 Market Readiness Visitor Ready—Refers to a hiking experience which offers the most basic or rudimentary infrastructure with Destination BC, in partnership with the tourism industry, has developed authorizations, insurance, trail inspections and some trail criteria to determine the ‘market readiness’ of tourism products. The information available to hikers. A relatively undeveloped three categories of market readiness include: hiking experience. These hiking experiences are likely • Visitor Ready known primarily by locals and short-haul domestic • Market Ready travelers. • Export Ready Market Ready—Refers to a hiking experience that meets However, these categories and their associated criteria have some the visitor ready criteria and is currently being marketed limitations when applied to hiking tourism. The market readiness criteria to potential visitors in domestic markets. This hiking described by Destination BC are focused primarily on assisting tourism experience provides moderate levels of infrastructure and businesses to improve their capacity to attract and to meet the needs supporting services. This type of hiking experience may of visitors and some criteria are not directly transferrable to evaluating be supported by a local guide/outfitter and/or some trip the market readiness of hiking trails. planning information may be available on the internet, through local clubs, and visitor information centres. Using the research, professional judgment and Destination BC’s market readiness criteria as a guide, the market readiness categories and Market Ready–Outstanding—Refers to a distinctive criteria were modified to better suite the evaluation of hiking trails. or ‘iconic’ hiking experience that meets the criteria of both visitor and market ready but has the potential to Table 3 Trail Experience Typology by Market Readiness attract long-haul international travelers. Information, Ranking—Summary infrastructure, and supporting services are in place; ready to meet the needs and expectations of the more experienced and sophisticated destination hiker. Hiking Experience Types Market Readiness of Vancouver (# of trails) Island and Coast Region Hiking Trails Strolls Excursions Epics

Visitor Ready Hiking Trails 45 46 16

Market Ready Hiking Trails 30 27 7

Market Ready 13 3 1 –Outstanding Trails

42 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

The following criteria were applied to evaluate the market readiness of each hiking trail in the inventory: • Approval • Visitor Information • Convenience • Proximity to Point of Entry Visitor Ready Trails • Trail Inspections 107 • Length of Operation • Trail Condition (maintenance) • Accommodations • Interpretive Signage • Liability Insurance Market Ready Trails • Management Plan • Wayfinding Signage 64 • Natural Attractions • Larger Trail System Designation • Human Attractions • Mapping/Wayfinding Market Ready Trails– Trails that did not have land manager authorization, ‘no insurance’ or Outstanding were ‘not regularly maintained’ were immediately categorized as ‘not 17 visitor ready’. In total, 62 trails (24.8%) out of the inventory did not meet some of these basic requirements. In our analysis of the trail attributes and with some self reporting from trail partners, it is clear there is the potential to elevate all hiking trail experiences to become market ready for visitors coming to hike in the VIC Region. Not Market Ready 62 Trails

of trails in the inventory 25% are not market ready

43 Port Hardy

Hiking Tourism Master Plan Comox Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Legend Gibsons

Port Nanaimo Alberni Tofino Major City Epic, Market Ready– Ucluelet Outstanding Ganges Epic, MarketDuncan Ready

Port Hardy Epic, Visitor Ready Port Renfrew Epic Not Visitor Ready Excursion, MarketVictoria Ready– Outstanding Excursion, Market Ready

Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics,Excursion, CNES/Airbus Visitor DS, Ready USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, Excursion © OpenStreetMap Not Visitor Ready Campbell contributors, and the GIS user community River Legend Stroll, Market Ready– Study Boundary pic, Visitor Ready xcursion, Visitor Ready Stroll, VisitorOutstanding Ready Powell Maor City pic, Not Visitor Ready River xcursion, Not Visitor Ready Stroll, Not Visitor Ready Stroll, Market Ready pic, Market Ready - nternational xcursion, Market Ready - nternational Stroll, Market Ready - nternational pic, Market Ready xcursion, Market ReadyComox Stroll, Market Ready Stroll, Visitor Ready Stroll Not Visitor Ready Sechelt TORSM VANCOVR SLAND Gibsons 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11) Port Nanaimo Alberni Tofino

Ucluelet Figure 11 Hiking Ganges Experience Duncan Type by Market Readiness Port Renfrew

Source: Esrl, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyInda, ©OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community 44 Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Legend Study Boundary pic, Visitor Ready xcursion, Visitor Ready Stroll, Visitor Ready Maor City pic, Not Visitor Ready xcursion, Not Visitor Ready Stroll, Not Visitor Ready pic, Market Ready - nternational xcursion, Market Ready - nternational Stroll, Market Ready - nternational pic, Market Ready xcursion, Market Ready Stroll, Market Ready

3.6 Lifecycle Analysis To inform our priorities, it was important to understand where each hiking experience type is on the destination life cycle. In alignment with Destinations are in a state of continuous change. It is commonly the destination characteristics (see Table 4), professional opinion was accepted that destinations, and the visitor experience themes offered used to determine the approximate life cycle stage for each hiking within them, have a life-cycle. According to Butler’s life cycle model, experience type. As shown in Figure 10, our hiking experience types a destination and its visitor experience themes will evolve through a were, in general, in the early stages of the tourism lifecycle. However, it series of distinct stages.6These stages are: Exploration, Involvement, is important to note that some individual trails and the experiences they Development, Consolidation, Stagnation leading to either Decline or facilitate (e.g. West Coast Trail, Sunshine Coast Trail) are much further possible Rejuvenation.24 along the destination lifecycle. However, when the trails within each hiking experience type are considered as a whole, the VIC Region has considerable opportunity to advance our hiking experiences along the destination lifecycle.





Epic Adventures EPOAION

Figure 10 Destination Lifecycle

45 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Table 4 Life Cycle Stage Destination Characteristics

Destination Characteristics

Life Cycle Stage Market Share Visitation Activities & Employment Access Attractions Exploration Unknown Low Few—Owned & Little to no local Limited Operated Locally employment in tourism. Involvement Unknown Low Lacking Critical Mass— Limited local employment Improved Owned & Operated in tourism. Locally Development Known—Short & Moderate–High Diversifying Growth in local Good Long Haul employment in tourism. Consolidation Well Known High—Reaches Critical Mass—External Strong local employment Optimum Carrying Capacity Investment in tourism. Stagnation No Growth Plateaus—Exceeding Aging—Declining Levelling off of local Maximized­—Too Carrying Capacity Appeal employment in tourism. much access Decline (unless Decline Decline Decline in Quality Declining employment in Maximized—Too efforts made toward tourism. Much rejuvenation)

When thinking about the various trails experiences in the VIC Region, we applied the criteria above to arrive at the general destination characteristics described below. Table 5 Visitor Experience Destination Characteristics

Destination Characteristics Visitor Experience Market Share Visitation Activities & Attractions Employment Access

Strolls Some awareness Low–Moderate Lacking Critical Mass— Little to no local Good with short haul Owned & Operated employment in tourism. markets Locally

Excursions Some awareness for Low Lacking Critical Mass Limited local employment Good Short & Long Haul in tourism.

Adventures Known to Well Moderate - High Diversifying Growth in local Good Known with one reaching employment in tourism. capacity

46 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

47 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast

3.7 Markets of Greatest Potential Each market segment carries with it key motivations for travel, behaviours, and expectations of experience. These were applied to the trails inventory in Phase 1 to identify the trail attributes used to evaluate trails market readiness. The outcome of this evaluation forms the foundation for the types of trail experiences currently offered throughout the study area. The market segments we have identified for the VIC Region, which inform our hiking trails experience typologies are based on Explorer Quotients; Authentic Experiencers, Cultural Explorers and Free Spirits which are most aligned with our target markets. Our trails typologies also align with the following Adventure Travel Trade Association's market segments—Adventure Grazers, Adventurers and Adventure Enthusiasts. These market segments apply to both the destination hiker as well as the touring/exploring traveler where hiking is a secondary motivator. As indicated earlier, the hiking tourism market can be coarsely grouped into two types of hikers: 1. Destination Hikers who are primarily motivated to travel to a destination because of its hiking experiences, and 2. Touring and Exploring market to whom hiking experiences are a secondary or even tertiary motivator. Tourism Vancouver Island is focused on primarily attracting the “touring and exploring” market, rather than focusing solely on “destination hikers”. Attracting destination hikers is an important initiative; however, Tourism Vancouver Island will continue its effort to use increased promotion of hiking experiences to further enhance the experience, extend the length of stay and spending by the touring and exploring market which may encourage them to return or, at the very least, share stories of their experience with others. As new hiking experiences are developed and existing experiences are enhanced, the appeal of the VIC Region will increase for both the destination hiker as well as the touring and exploring market. The touring/explorer hiker is primarily coming from BC and Alberta. Washington and California States and Europe are also important. In alignment with the key target markets of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, touring and exploring travelers are coming from further reaches such as USA, Europe and Australia in addition to BC and rest of Canada markets. These markets can be targeted for developing hiking tourism. 48 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Destination hikers are not motivated like other hikers where hiking is a secondary travel motivator; however, there is substantial overlap in their expectations. Destination hikers will seek out specific hiking experiences and build their travel itinerary around that primary focus. Destination hikers are looking for a unique, authentic epic adventure trail experience often in rugged and remote wilderness settings. They align closely with the TOURING Natural ATTA “adventure enthusiast” traveler. The VIC Region has the potential HIKER Attractions DESTINATION to develop and increase tourism to meet the needs and desires of the HIKER destination hiker through its “Epic Adventures” hiking trails typology. The touring and exploring hiker will usually be motivated to travel to Awareness several destinations based on their attractions and events, only in differing priorities. When we examine the 5A’s of Tourism, both the destination Gentle Iconic hiker and the touring/exploring hiker are looking for similar amenities and Attraction attractions aligned with their EQ travel expectations. Whereas touring/ Escape exploring hikers may travel to a destination primarily for other attractions Amenities and activities which may include hiking, the destination hiker will travel to Accommodations a destination primarily because of its attractiveness to hiking and secondly for other activities and amenities that encourage them to stay longer. For Activities destination hikers, hiking is the main event. The touring/exploring traveler Access has the potential to become a destination hiker, and will return if they are 5A’S OF satisfied with the supporting services, amenities and accommodations to TOURISM support longer stays and longer hikes.

Figure 12 Destination Hiker vs Touring Hiker Experience Needs

49 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.7.1 EQ – Market Segment Appeal physically active and ‘fit’ touring explorer looking for outdoor activities. The Explorer Quotient (EQ) developed by the Canadian Tourism Free Spirits: This traveler is adventurous, curious and likely to be Commission (now Destination Canada), identified the types of travelers attracted to luxury hotels, tourism hotspots, top restaurants, night clubs to and within Canada and their characteristics. Each market segment and group tours. At first glance, this traveler may not seem a likely carries with it key motivations for travel, behaviours, and expectations candidate to be attracted by trail-based experiences. However; EQ of experience. These were applied to the trails inventory in Phase 1 to profiling suggests that this traveler seeks unique or iconic experiences identify the trail attributes used to evaluate trails tourism suitability. With and will try just about anything in a group. The Free Spirit traveler is all three segments, travelers are motivated more by the attractions they a strong potential target market for high quality, soft adventure trail may encounter along the journey, than by trail length. Cultural Explorers excursions. This traveler would be attracted by wilderness resorts, remote and Authentic Experiencers are very similar but with an emphasis fishing experiences and hard-to-reach destinations featuring ‘Epic’ hikes. on more or less cultural or natural attractions. Each EQ traveler is not mutually exclusive to each hiking trail type, but would not likely seek 3.7.2 Adventure Traveler Types out opposite extremes in trails experiences. The Adventure Travel Trade Association or ATTA 2014: Adventure TVI is targeting the following EQ traveler types: Grazers, Adventurers and Adventure Enthusiasts representing 24, 20 and 8% of the US population, respectively. The ATTA model primarily Cultural Explorers: value spontaneity, cultural sampling and trying new experiences. These travelers can be motivated to travel to high distinguishes travelers by differences in skill level, whether they repeat quality softer adventure trail-based experiences that are packaged activities or bounce around, and how they understand risk as an with learning/interpretive opportunities that allow them to immerse element of their values and experience. Only 36% of Grazers and 37% of themselves in local and Aboriginal cultures. Hiking and other outdoor Adventurers, however; currently use tour operators, compared with 48% activities are avenues for experiencing the cultural (and natural) of Enthusiasts. The younger the Enthusiast, the more likely they were to 25 environment; therefore trails situated in mid and front country settings have booked everything through a travel agent of travel advisor. are likely to be more appealing. Cultural explorers tend to take the Grazers: people who are primarily working through their “bucket list”. most vacations of any EQ type, with trips of all durations, but focused Novice and first-time participants. Generally align with the touring/ more often on weekend escapes. "Strolls" trails would hold the greatest exploring ‘drive’ vacation. appeal for these travelers although they would not be averse to Adventurers: people with a preference and skill for a particular sport. "Excursions" for the right cultural experience. Thrill-seeking repeat participants in favourite adventure activities. The Authentic Experiencers: value authentic learning travel, nature, cultural ATTA believes that “Adventurers” are the sweet spot for the adventure immersion and personal development. They are spontaneous, ethical, travel industry. They seem to be the most likely to develop a relationship and eco-conscious. They are likely to be attracted to nature reserves, with an adventure company and become a devoted customer. These world heritage sites, hiking trails, museums, and campsites . There is travelers have the potential to become destination hikers. a good chance that these travelers can be motivated to travel by Adventure Enthusiasts: Skilled practitioners in favourite activities. More high quality, hard and soft adventure trail-based experiences that are accepting of risk, spend more money on gear, and are more likely to packaged with cultural and natural attractions, learning/interpretive book with a tour operator or travel advisor. These are definitely in the opportunities and unique/authentic accommodations tied to their destination hiker market. interests. These travelers tend to be more mature, and prefer to take longer vacations of a week or more. Authentic Experiencers are most likely aligned with “Excursions” and “Epic” trails types and to the more

50 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.7.3 The 5A’s of Tourism Accommodation Consideration of the 5A’s of Tourism26 can assist hiking trails marketers All destinations need accommodations nearby from basic to overcome the barrier between consideration and itinerary planning camping and backpacking facilities to mega-resorts. Successful by providing relevant information necessary to support trip logistics accommodation development depends on offering the right type of planning by creating awareness of the trails destination. Natural and facility to suit the needs of the key target markets. cultural attractions, how to access the destination and trails, the Amenities available accommodation options, and supporting amenities will all Amenities are the services that are required to meet the needs of be influential in motivating travelers who are looking for unique hiking tourists while they are away from home. These may include public experiences. toilets, interpretive and wayfinding signage, retail shopping, restaurants Awareness and cafes, visitor centres, telecommunications and emergency Awareness of the destination and the value of tourism are critical to services. A high degree of co-operation is needed between public and the success of attractions. The local population needs to understand private sector stakeholders to balance and meet the needs of visitors the value of tourism to the community. Front-line tourism and retail staff and local residents. must have strong, positive attitudes towards tourists to provide positive experiences. Marketing and creating awareness of the destination is another critical factor necessary to promote the destination above competitive destinations or attractions from outside the VIC Region. Attractions A tourist attraction is a place of interest that tourists visit for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, or amusement opportunities. Some tourist attractions are also landmarks. Attractions may also include the activities (another ‘A’) that can be undertaken at the destination. These may also be recreational, for example, sea kayaking, cycling and fishing or they may be natural attractions such as, beaches, viewpoints, waterfalls or significant geological features. Access Transport is needed to physically move tourists from where they live to where they are visiting. Air, water, bus and automobile rental transportation is required to serve the needs of tourists who prefer not to or are not able to transport themselves. The stronger the coordination between travel modes, transfer points and destinations, the more accessible the destination becomes.

51 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.8 Experience Market Match It is important that the recommendations and implementation strategy be informed by a clear “experience market match” that strives to Experience Product Match Opportunities align target market expectations and motivations with the supply of hiking experiences. Understanding target market expectations and • Improve our trails infrastructure to become demands will be essential when making decisions about and setting exceptional. priorities regarding the supply, quality and distribution of hiking tourism • Offer trip planning logistics. opportunities across the VIC Region as we move towards Phase 3 - implementation. • Improve trails information and wayfinding. The following factors, in addition to professional assessment were used • Create infrastructure programs. to compare the expectations of target markets with the supply of trail- • Increase Accommodation choices & supply. based experiences used to determine market readiness. These include: • Unique visitor experience • Create or enhance amenities, transportation & other services (restaurants, retail, tours, • 5A’s of Tourism (Access, Amenities, Accommodations, Awareness, attractions, guides, water taxi) to support Attractions (natural and cultural) hiking destinations. • Trail information • Authorizations and management • Coordinated and consistent marketing and messaging. • Trail condition and safety Gaps between our hiking experiences and market expectations occur • Coordinate stakeholders. within the physical infrastructure, marketing and branding as well as • Coordinate management funding. partnerships and collaborations that are currently barriers to reaching our full tourism potential. These include inconsistent or lack of trip planning logistics to assist in aligning visitor expectations with delivery on the ground; a need for planning, communications, and coordination amongst stakeholders; development of amenities and services in alignment with visitor needs, interests, and expectations; and coordinated messaging and marketing through use of the tourism network (i.e., Community DMOs including Tourism Vancouver Island, Destination British Columbia, and Destination Canada).

52 Hiking Tourism Master Plan STROLLS Vancouver Island and Coast Region High Area for Ideal Demand Improvement Situation

Easy Access - multiple choices Wineries, Craft Beer, Wayfinding Wildlife Viewing - Culinary Tours - small Packaged Hiking whale watching, bird group watching Experiences Aboriginal Culture Aboriginal Cultural Other Recreation experiences Activities Stories Family oriented activities Retail - local products, Historical, art, craftts RV Camping, Family Mapping Industrial, Natural Camping services Organized camping vegetation Restaurants - abundant interpretive Hotels, Resorts,B&B, - showers, toilets, choices in centres programs Cottage, Spa running waterr Scenic Landscapes Long Distance - Museums, Totems, Murals, Wi Fi Multi Day Hiking Tamed Wilderness Architecture High Emerging Strength Strength

Challenging Terrain Difficult Access

53 Hiking Tourism Master Plan EXCURSIONSVancouver Island and Coast Region High Area for Ideal Demand Improvement Situation

Trail Amenities - outhouses

Wayfinding Mapping Trip Planning Info. Wineries, Craft Beer, Periodic Internet Access Packaged Hiking Culinary Experiences Organized camping Experiences Emerging Local Specialty Cabin or Hut-to-Hut, Yurt Awareness Restaurants in gateway or hostels Personal Car access communities Aboriginal Cultural Transportation Transfers Stories & Self- Wildlife Viewing Retail - local products, to Traiis art, craftts Guided Tours Natural Attractions Historical, Industrial, Groceries, supplies Natural vegetation Wilderness Long Distance - availabl interpretive Programs Multi Day Hiking High Emerging Strength Strength

54 Hiking Tourism Master Plan EPICS Vancouver Island and Coast Region High Area for Ideal Demand Improvement Situation

Wayfinding - Wildlife Viewing - marked trail heads natural habitat Natural Attractions - Mapping Trip planning Info. beaches, viewpoints Up-to-date trail Spectacular Scenery Awareness information - access, fire Wilderness bans, conditions Packaged Hiking Challenging Terrain Wilderness cabin Experiences Impromptu camping Groceries & Limited Gear outfitters supplies available in Long Distance - Awareness - word of Transportation tranfers - gateway towns Multi Day Hiking mouth nearest centre High Emerging Strength Strength Guides

Remote Lodge

55 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

3.9 Current Brands & Marketing 3.9.1 What We Heard Destination BC recently revitalized the Super, Natural British Columbia Our discussions revealed that although the VIC Region has many brand. Through the process, they learned that travelers generally positive attributes that support hiking tourism, and some well-known have positive impressions of British Columbia and want to travel here… hiking experiences, there appears to be a general lack of awareness someday. However, in a world of increasingly aggressive competition, of the VIC Region as a destination that provides exceptional hiking the province is missing the magnetism needed to motivate travelers to experiences. Stakeholders identified a number of positive attributes as make British Columbia their travel choice. Destination BC also learned well as opportunities for improvement: that many potential travelers don’t see the value in visiting British Positive Attributes: Columbia. The top reasons people gave for not visiting were: • Vancouver Island has some well-known hiking experiences, such • Other places seem more interesting. as the West Coast Trail and Sunshine Coast Trail • BC is too far to travel to. • First-Nations offer culture, history, stories, arts, crafts, and • BC is too expensive to visit. performances which are complimentary to hiking experiences Destination BC also learned that for travelers to British Columbia, Offer many other experiences that are complimentary to nature is the magnet. Our topography, from the sea to the sky, sets marketing our hiking experiences including: sight-seeing, sea- British Columbia, and the VIC Region, apart. Destination BC discovered kayaking, whale watching, festivals, culinary, scuba diving, bird that many travelers are drawn to the sheer vastness, abundance and watching, bear watching, and viewing other wildlife diversity of our nature. While some travelers want to deeply immerse • Wilderness, physical and psychological challenge themselves in the nature we offer, others travelers are happy just • Diversity of landscapes to “rub-shoulders” with nature. And, what better way to deliver on • Un-crowded areas our travelers desires and help them connect with our nature, than through a network of exceptional hiking experiences. Recognizing • Local geological and natural history this, it was important to review our current hiking experience brands • Coastal experience and the marketing strategies used to compel those visitors to choose • Year round opportunities the VIC Region. The process began by interviewing our hiking tourism • Beaches partners and stakeholders to determine the VIC Region’s strengths, • Lakes and oceans areas for improvement and current success stories. • Forests • Free access to trails and hiking experiences • History—logging, mining, railways, fishing, shipping, European A brand is... settlement The essence, or personality, of a destination. It makes a destination distinctive, memorable and different from other destinations, in the eyes of the potential visitor. For travellers to British Columbia, nature is the magnet.

56 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Opportunities for Improvement: 3.9.2 A Closer Look According to the Path to Purchase • Markets lack awareness of VIC Region’s hiking experiences Regardless of which market segment we are trying to reach, it is widely • No coordinated regional hiking experience brand or marketing accepted that travelers follow a relatively common pathway to making strategy their purchasing decisions. From the first learning about a destination, • Cross promotion of hiking experiences between regions and to dreaming about their trip, visualizing themselves at the destination, DMOs researching it and finally making a purchase decision, it is imperative that destination marketers are reaching and inspiring travelers at each • No regional online hiking experience trip planning tool stage along the path to purchase. By better understanding where • Enhance the quality, diversity and integration of potential travelers are along the path to purchase, we can better accommodations with trails align marketing efforts to better target the needs of travelers. It has • Amenities and services to support visitors on their hiking been shown that potential barriers that arise between ‘consideration’ experiences and itinerary ‘planning’ can be positively influenced by marketing 27 • Lack of sufficient information about hiking experiences activities.

When asked how hiking experiences are currently marketed in the ON DREAM LIST ON CONSIDERATION LIST VIC Region, the most frequently referenced approaches included: AARE 3 4 • Blogs 2 T CREATIN A • Apps (Trail Forks, Trip Advisor app) 5 ACATION ADOCACY • Clubs (Club Tred) 1

• Websites (DMO’s, municipalities, blogs, travel writers, e-zines) T • Social media (Facebook) • Trail maps 6 • Brochures DETAILED ITINERARY • Word of mouth LANNIN EXLORIN CANADA 7 • Visitor Centres 8 FINALIIN TRAEL BOOIN A TRI In addition to the efforts of trails managers and local groups, Tourism ARRANEMENT Vancouver Island, through partnerships with Destination BC and Figure 13 Marketing along the Path to Purchase28 regional stakeholders, successfully promotes the VIC Region through various program areas including community programs, regional partnership marketing, travel trade, travel media relations and online/ e-marketing.

57 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

The key stages in the path to purchase are: Through analysis for each of the marketing approaches for each of the trails, it appears as though current marketing inconsistently targets • Aware—travelers receive marketing messaging or search for travelers at each stage of the partway to purchase. Most readily information on potential destinations. available marketing materials target visitors at the planning stage. • —travelers become engaged at an emotional On Dream List There is great opportunity to truly target travelers throughout their entire level and become inspired about the destination. journey toward choosing the VIC Region as their next hiking tourism • On Consideration List—travelers begin to make a connection destination. In addition, it was clear that integrated trip planning between inspiration and meeting personal interests, needs, and tools, allowing visitors to easily book each of the 5 A’s—attractions, motivations. activities, accommodations, access and amenities was not available. • Creating a Vacation—travelers picture themselves at the Improved integration will remove barriers and enhance the ease with destination engaged in the desired activity or activities. which travelers can reach the purchase stage of the decision making process. Making this process easier for travelers to traverse the path to • Detailed Itinerary Planning—At this point in the process, travelers may consider the destination as a strong option and purchase will yield more conversions from the planning stage to the move into identifying and analyzing trip planning logistics. actual purchasing stage. • Finalize—travelers work out travel logistics to the destination. Trip Planning Differences: Front-Country versus Back-Country Trip planning logistical and technical needs will vary significantly for • Finalizing Travel Arrangement—travelers book their trip. travelers to front-country versus back-country hiking trail systems. The The ‘path to purchase' in conjunction with the ‘hiking experiences consequences of limited ‘awareness’ of critical information may be typologies’ (see Table 6) allows destination marketers to target travelers more severe for a back-country traveler who is insufficiently prepared who are booking a trip & exploring at each stage of the path to for rugged, uninhabited wilderness with challenging trail conditions. The purchase with compelling messages that are tailored to the travelers ‘attractiveness’ of a hiking trail system is dependent upon presenting desired hiking experiences. To look more closely at current brands appropriate experiences in alignment with the interests and motivations and marketing approaches, internet key word searches, stakeholder of the traveler (family social stroll, versus epic wilderness journey). interviews and MindMixer were used to identify some of the most ‘Access’ to a trail system influences the motivation of the traveler to successful hiking tourism trails and associated brands in the VIC Region. overcome travel logistics or challenges. For example, if there is sufficient Three trails, representing each of the three hiking experiences types, ‘attraction’ (iconic hiking trail) to a destination trail system, then travel were examined more closely: challenges may be mitigated (people may be willing to put up with • West Coast Trail—Epic insufficient options if they really want to visit the destination). Access to • Cape Scott Park Trails—Ranging from Strolls to Excursion to Epic information and transportation options is important. ‘Accommodation’ Hikes options also need to be in alignment with the type of experience a traveler is seeking. Front-country accommodations typically present a • Galloping Goose Regional Trail—Stroll wider range of options due to proximity to population centres. Back- The goal is to align marketing efforts targeting travelers at each stage county accommodations for trails may range from rustic camping, of the path to purchase with compelling messaging that is relevant and to huts, yurts, or cabins, to luxury back-country lodges or ‘glamping’ appealing to the hiking experience type offered. Table 6. summarizes experiences. Trip experience motivations and available (albeit, more how to apply appropriate marketing to each phase as a traveler limited options) are key to decision-making for travelers. progresses through the Path to Purchase.

58 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

Table 6 Applying Marketing Strategies by Path to Purchase Stage


PATH TO PURCHASE Stoll Excursion Epic MARKETING ATTRIBUTES Galloping Goose Cape Scott Park West Coast Trail Trail Trails There is great AWARE Info Centres Guidebooks opportunity to improve Web Searches Niche Magazines/E-Zines/ Information  marketing to visitors at Capital Regional Travel News Sites Channel District Website Web Searches each stage of the path Preferences Word of Mouth Travel Blogs to purchase Social Media Word of Mouth Social Media

DREAM Gentle Pathway Rugged Wilderness View Nature Uninhabited Viewscapes Elements which  Developed Pathway Personal Challenge Inspire Easy Access Extreme Moments (GoPro!)

CONSIDER Challenging Escape How do hikers find Socialization  Iconic Attraction/Bucket Desire Triggers Gentle Escape  Vancouver Island Trails? Path Purchase To List Call to Action “Word of mouth, past Call to Action experience and the BC Parks VISUALIZE Socialization Status map are the most common Dream & Consider Dream & Consider information sources Creation of a  merge to visualize merge to visualize the full respondents would use to Personal Vacation the full adventure adventure Movie plan an outdoor recreation outing.”29 PLAN Websites Websites Websites Tour Operators

5 A’s 5 A’s 5 A’s 5 A’s

Trip Planning

59 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Epic Hiking: West Coast Trail The West Coast Trail is the most famous hiking trail in the Vancouver Island/ Sunshine Coast region, known as a ‘challenging’, ‘epic’, ‘bucket-list’ trek which attracts hikers globally. Originally named the Dominion Lifesaving Trail, this 75 kilometre, multi-day trek on the west coast of the Island is managed by Parks Canada. Due to the popularity of this hike, the total allotment of permits to access the trail are fully-subscribed each year (thus indicating the potential to develop similar trails in the VIC Region). Permits and reservations fees apply at the time of booking, although ‘stand by’ access is also permitted. Analysis of internet-based resources shows a diversity of information resources available regarding the trail, albeit; with limited coordination of marketing activities. Given the popularity of this trail, there are a large number of web-based resources available online.

• Parks Canada, 2016. The West Coast Trail: Hike of a Lifetime. Retrieved • Trail Peak, 2015. West Coast Trail. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from February 9, 2016 from • Sooke Region Tourism Association, 2016. The West Coast Trail. Retrieved • Tourism Vancouver Island, 2016. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from February 9, 2016 from • Ditidaht First Nation (N.D.). West Coast Trail Comfort Camping, Recreation in park-reserve/ the Nitnat Region. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from • Destination British Columbia, 2015. Vancouver Island, Hiking, West Coast Trail parks--recreation/ and Coastline Hikes. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from http://www.hellobc. • Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, 2016. The West Coast Trail. com/vancouver-island/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/hiking.aspx Retrieved February 9, 2016 from • Wikipedia, 2015. West Coast Trail. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from https:// • All Trails, 2015. National Geographic. The West Coast Trail. Retrieved February • West Coast Trail Express, 2010. Welcome to West Coast Trail Express Inc. 9, 2016 from Retrieved February 9, 2016 from • Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism, 2016. West Coast Trail Express. Retrieved • Trip Advisor Canada, 2016. West Coast Trail. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from February 9, 2016 from West_Coast_Trail-Victoria_Capital_Regional_District_Vancouver_Island_ British_Colu.html

60 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Stroll, Excursion and Epic Stroll Hike: Galloping Hikes: Cape Scott Park Goose Trail Formerly a railway line, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail attracts Trails many local walkers, hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, as well as visitors looking for an easy, picturesque stroll. Internet resources on Internet resources on the hiking trails at Cape Scott Park and the this trail are more limited to information provided by local interests. North Coast Trail present a model of clear, concise information for visitors planning a trip to the North Vancouver Island Region. The The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is classified as a ‘Front-Country Cape Scott Park website, more specifically; assists visitors to easily Stroll’ attractive to ATTA ‘Grazers’ with easy access for local understand a range of trail options available to most levels of hikers. recreationists and potential appeal for tourists. Although primarily used as an inter-city commuter track or inter-neighbourhood stroll, 1. The North Coast Trail is a ‘Back-Country Adventure’ it has the potential to be marketed as part of a longer distance attractive to ATTA ‘Enthusiasts’. Key attributes: rugged, hiking/cycle route connecting to other gateway towns. challenging escape. 2. The Cape Scott Trail is a ‘Mid-Country Excursion’ attractive to ATTA ‘Adventurers’. Key attributes: moderately rugged, • Capital Regional District, 2015. Galloping Goose Regional Trail. moderate escape. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from 3. The San Josef Bay Trail is a ‘Front-Country Stroll’ attractive to ATTA ‘Grazers’. Key attributes: day trip, relatively gentle, find-park-trail/galloping-goose retains sense of wilderness. • Tourism Victoria, 2012. Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from • Cape Scott Park, 2016. Cape Scott Park and the North Coast Trail. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from Regional-Trail/65096/ • BC Ministry of Environment, 2015. Hiking in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from • Tourism Vancouver Island North, 2016. Hiking. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from hiking/ • Trail Peak, 2015. Cape Scott Trail. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from • North Coast Trail Shuttle, (N.D.). North Coast Trail Shuttle. Retrieved February 9, 2016 from Information.html

61 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast Promising Practices The Cape Scott Park trail systems represented by the capescottpark. com website, presents a regional example of some best practices in marketing activities which encompass many of the key attributes of our ‘path to purchase marketing attributes framework’ and the ‘trail experience typologies’. Descriptions and imagery provides inspiration messaging in alignment with ‘path to purchase’ attributes; then, transitions well into ‘trail experience typology’ and ‘5 A’s’ attributes necessary to bridge the transition to address logistical and technical needs of travelers.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy representing the website provides a significantly more comprehensive example from a much larger trail system traversing multiple geopolitical jurisdictions. This website is heavily weighted towards providing trail experience, logistical, and technical information. Well known as an iconic trail system in the United States, ‘path to purchase’ oriented marketing activities build on the momentum of current awareness of the trail system as an attraction, along with ready access to many other websites providing inspirational marketing messaging and imagery as found in the American Classic: Hiking the Appalachian Trail.30

62 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region 4. The Way Forward

IMAGINE... From easy strolls, to enjoyable excursions and challenging epic adventures, the Vancouver Island and Coast Region is recognized by domestic and international travelers alike as Canada's premier year round hiking tourism destination. Hiking tourism is positively embraced by our local residents and is a significant contributor to our economy as visitors stay longer, spend more and return more often. Trails organizations, land owners, tourism industry and government are working collaboratively to plan, develop and manage the region's network of exceptional hiking experiences in ways that share the stories of First Nations and our peoples while minimizing impacts to the environment.

4.2 Goals The overall goal of the Hiking Tourism Master Plan is create a network of exceptional hiking experiences complete with a common vision and approach to planning, managing and marketing our hiking experiences across multiple layers of government, and organizations involved with trails in the VIC Region. More specifically, our goals are to: “The human element of the tourism experience is fundamental to 1. Deliver exceptional hiking experiences. achieving success as a desirable place to visit” (Gaining the Edge, 2012) 2. Increase visitation, length of stay and spending by both destination hikers and the touring market.

3. Create Positive Relationships between industry (business), DMO’s, private land holders, governments, First Nations, visitors and residents.

63 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.3 Our Unique Selling Proposition With hikers travelling to many parts of BC and other destinations It is clear that we offer a large number of hiking experiences spread globally, competition for visitors is fierce. Now that we have analyzed across the VIC Region, however; the majority of them are not ready to our trails tourism experiences, and understand the needs, interests, and be marketed as tourism experiences. A few trails have been established motivations of our target markets, we will need to work at differentiating as destination hikes and are being marketed individually, including our experiences from the competition. People are coming from all over The West Coast Trail and Sunshine Coast Trail. However; most hiking the world to the VIC Region for our breath-taking natural beauty. Along trails experiences have developed ad hoc, over time through local with the possibility of chance encounters with wildlife. Our unique use. Within the VIC Region itself, the challenge will be to develop and geography, culture, peoples and temperate rainforest climate offers market a network of exceptional hiking experiences that are unique to a number of distinctive trails qualities and experiences to build our a particular region and landscape. The VIC Region is diverse. We need unique selling proposition. Our competitive advantages within the VIC to be deliberate in acknowledging and leveraging our sub-reigonal Region are: uniquenesses and creating distinct visitor experiences that reflect those characteristics. Particular attention must be paid to avoiding the • Our coastal hiking experience makes us different than most other development of a homogeneous network of hiking experiences. Each hiking destinations in the Province. region ought to focus on embracing its competitive advantage and avoid • We have hiking routes through a wide range of scenic trying to be "everything to everyone". landscapes that are easily accessible in a relatively small geographic region including coastal rainforest, alpine and urban areas that are available all year round. • Our trails are not crowded and (most) are free of charge. • Our wilderness trails offer something for everyone—through beginner to intermediate to challenging hikes and therefore; have the potential to become a hiking mecca in BC. “First Nations have used trails for travel and • First Nations and their history and stories present opportunities acquiring sustenance since the beginning of time. to share cultural experiences and traditional knowledge on Early European explorers and settlers to British Vancouver Island. Columbia relied on these already established • We have a number of natural and cultural attractions such trails and added to their unique histories.” as winery tours, craft breweries, ancient forests, agricultural Furthermore, many First Nations communities are products, cultural and industrial history, as well as other actively engaged in protecting and managing recreation activities that enhance our hiking experiences. trails, and promoting responsible trail use that • We have two UNESCO biosphere reserves. respects their cultural values.31 • We offer marine wildlife viewing, bird watching and chance encounters with other wildlife. • First Nations traditional knowledge is abundant and available. • Our trails have good access to safety and emergency services.

64 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.4 ‘Exceptional’ Hiking Experiences As we shift from selling tourism products, and embrace the need to Other opportunities to promote exceptional hiking experiences and develop and sell experiences, there is shift from tourism ‘products’ build hiking tourism occur where clusters of hiking trails are located towards ‘experiences’, there is potential to create distinctive hiking around a particular urban centre, gateway town or resort community. experiences that create a sense of place and unique memories. In this way, the touring/exploring market visitor will also be satisfied with In Canada, Destination BC’s strategy seeks to foster “remarkable” a number of easy to moderate day hikes to choose from, that don’t experiences32, described as “a compelling experience that require pre-planning or special gear and are easily accessible from a differentiates BC in a competitive tourism marketplace and encourages single destination. word of mouth”. These experiences are the heart and soul of our tourism zones and represent the highest achievement standard. Their unique iconic experiences have the potential to increase awareness of a particular destination through positive word of mouth, create a strong brand personality and attract significant tourism spending. Tourism Vancouver Island supports the need to create distinction among our hiking experiences that will set us apart from other regions in BC. Exceptional hiking experiences appeal to the touring and What Are Exceptional Hiking Experiences? exploring market as well as to destination hikers who wish to experience the best hikes that the region has to offer. • Our highest achievement standard “Exceptional” hiking experiences in the VIC Region can be described • They offer a compelling and memorable as individual iconic trails, or multi-day, long distance Strolls, Excursions or experience that is distinctive and encourages Epic adventures that are packaged with accommodations, services and word of mouth amenities to meet target market expectations. Our trail partners have • Are unique destinations and iconic indicated that market demand for these trail experiences are on the rise, experiences and are an area of potential hiking tourism growth within the VIC Region. Currently there are only a few of these types of hiking adventures offered • They have a strong brand personality in the VIC Region. A similar island to island hiking experience is being • They meet our target market needs developed through the Experience the Gulf Islands with water taxi service proposed to transport visitors. The touring and exploring market will also • They are packaged with accommodations be interested in having a ‘taste’ of the best of the best hiking trails and will services and amenities naturally gravitate to unique or themed or iconic hiking experiences if they are aware of them. Travelers in the touring and exploring market may be interested in taking in a ‘piece’ or a part of a long distance, multi-day hike. Some hut-to-hut or multi day hikes are broken up into manageable parts that can be hiked over several hours or in a day trip such as along the Sunshine Coast Trail or the Spine Trail on Vancouver Island.

65 Port Hardy Cape Scott Provincial Park

Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park

Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park Campbell River

Strathcona Provincial Park

Port Nanaimo Alberni Tofino Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region Ucluelet

Ganges Pacific Rim National Reserve Legend Duncan

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park Study Boundary Port Renfrew Major City Victoria Operational TCT Traill E&N Trail

Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, Existing CNES/Airbus Spine DS, Port USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IG P, swisstopo, and the GIS Hardy Future E&N Trail Cape Scott User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap Provincial Park contributors, and the GIS user community Future Spine Legend Study Boundary Operational TCT Trail Future N Trail Lochside Trail Galloping Goose Trail Maor City N Trail Future Spine Nanimo Regional Trail Lochside Trail xisting Spine Galloping Goose Trail Proposed TCT Trail

Brooks Peninsula Nanaimo Regional Trail Provincial Park Proposed TCT Trail MAORTahsish-Kwois TRAL NTOR Provincial Park Campbell TORSM VANCOVR SLAND River 0 0 60 Powell ilometres River 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11)

Ucluelet Figure 14 Major Trail Network Ganges Pacific Rim National Reserve Duncan

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park Port Renfrew

Source: Esrl, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyInda, ©OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, 66 USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community, Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community Legend Study Boundary Operational TCT Trail Future N Trail Lochside Trail Maor City N Trail Future Spine Nanimo Regional Trail xisting Spine Galloping Goose Trail Proposed TCT Trail

MAOR TRAL NTOR TORSM VANCOVR SLAND 0 0 60 ilometres 1:2,000,000 (at original document sie of 8.x11) Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

67 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.5 Hiking Experience Zones To assist in differentiating the VIC region according to its strengths, we Existing Epic adventure hikes are typically concentrated in remote have assembled Hiking Experience Zones. A hiking experience zone is a areas of coastal rainforest or in alpine settings. The Sunshine Coast Trail geographic area consisting of a concentration of complementary hiking experience offers a mix of strolls and excursion experiences along its trails that are closely linked in terms of the hiking experience they facilitate length. These can attract destination ‘excursion’ hikers interested in more and the markets they attract. These zones serve as a point of focus, hut-to-hut hikes with cultural attractions and focused around urban signaling the primary hiking experience objectives for the geographic centres or gateways. Excursion hikers may be motivated to travel along area. Zones are established with purposeful consideration of our target themed routes and interpretive trails with appropriate accommodations markets’ primary travel motivations and the sub-region’s unique selling and significant attractions. Long distance hiking trails may also appeal propositions. Zones are intended to stimulate the creation of itineraries. to the touring market who would take in a ‘piece’ of the trail during their Itineraries could also be developed that include multiple zones. Though visit. Other long distance hiking “strolls” experiences have the potential the zones are spatially explicit, they are not intended to exclude or create to be concentrated along the east side of Vancouver Island along our division between communities nor do they communicate official land urban corridor and between the Gulf Islands. management intent agreed to by land management regulators. Instead, Long distance destination ‘Strolls’ experiences may be similar to the zones should be viewed as permeable areas that communicate a ‘Excursions’ in that they originate in urban centres and appeal to a focus for those working to advance the hiking tourism sector based on more cultural traveler. These may be combined with cycling, over what will be of interest to target markets. longer distances to achieve a ‘town to town’ hiking experience and Spatial patterns emerging from our analysis of hiking trail experiences may even become a ‘cross island’ off road link. Destination ‘Strolls’ show that hiking experiences are generally clustered in particular offer travelers the potential to use parts of the hiking trail to link to locations, based on the landscape geography, settlement patterns, or access other easy, short distance hikes clustered near an urban and the potential to meet motivations of specific target markets. centres such as within the area surrounding Nanaimo or the Cowichan Valley. In these cases, long distance trails become a part of an urban We recognize that each zone can and does provide all three hiking centre’s active transportation network or a part of the touring market experiences and therefore the map is not intended to be exclusive. attractions and may offer a number of accommodations choices, The zoning map takes into consideration destinations where trails are restaurants, amenities and cultural attractions along the way. Examples clustered and which offer a choice of easy-to-access short term hiking of these may be the Galloping Goose Trail, Lochside Trail, E&N Trail, experiences. In these cases, travelers are motivated to visit various Trans Canada Trail , and the Vancouver Island Spine Trail. destinations, including resort areas and are keen to take in hiking in addition to other recreation activities, cultural and natural attractions. The VIC Region has the potential to support hiking tourism for all three Based on traveler expectations, and the concentration of existing hiking experiences typologies. The benefit of taking a hiking tourism hiking trails types, communities within or near each zone are able to zone approach is that it allows each area to excel in what it can best ‘specialize’ in the types of experiences they choose to market and provide in terms of trails experiences. These potential tourism zones are support. This helps prioritize resources and fine tune supporting services, shown generally in the following map. amenities and accommodations to suit visitor needs.

68 A hiking experience zone is a geographic area consisting of a concentration of complementary hiking trails that are closely linked in terms of the hiking experience they facilitate and the markets Cape Scott they attract.

Port Mcneill

Powell River Alpine Sunshine Coast

Courtenay Sechelt Straight of Georgia Hiking Experience Zones

Epic Experiences Coastal Rainforest, Alpine + North Coast Descanso Bay Port Alberni Nanaimo Excursion Experiences To no Ladysmith Stroll Experiences Ucluelet Urban Corridor- + Coastal Douglas Fir Lake Cowichan West Coast Trail Duncan

Paci c Ocean Victoria

Figure 15 Hiking Experience Zone Map 69 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.6 Creating Our Exceptional Hiking Experience Network Hiking Tourism Strategies One of the most practical strategies to meet target market 1. Enhance existing hiking experiences to become opportunities, will be to address our need as a region to bring a ‘exceptional’; number of existing trails up to market ready standards for the touring and exploring market as well as the destination hiker. The VIC Region 2. Create an interpretive, storytelling framework; has the potential to create an “Exceptional” Hiking Experiences 3. Provide the right accommodations and amenities network to help realize its full hiking tourism potential. A network of to support our ‘exceptional’ hiking experiences; exceptional hiking experiences will be identified from each governing Regional District of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast , Broughton 4. Build awareness of the ‘Exceptional Hiking Islands, Discovery Islands and the Gulf Islands in collaboration with Experiences Network; local and regional governments and other trails partners who could 5. Maximize the positive benefits of tourism leverage funding towards these initiatives. while minimizing the negative impacts on the This may be best achieved by establishing a working group led by environment, First Nations and host communities; Tourism Vancouver Island, to support implementation around the goal of improving existing trails to become suitable for tourism. Tourism 6. Ensure ‘exceptional’ hiking experiences are well Vancouver Island is a key resource for regional tourism operators managed and safe; and stakeholders to collaborate and effectively leverage tourism 7. Maintain an up-to-date inventory database of experience development and marketing opportunities and could help hiking trails and trail attributes; to facilitate a regional selection of trails as priorities for enhancement among trails partners. 8. Make it easier to access the “Exceptional Hiking There is room to increase the awareness, quality of and number of Experiences’ network; “Strolls, Excursions and Epic” hiking experiences and their supporting 9. Establish Sustainable sources of funding; destinations. To guide us forward, destination development, destination 10. Collaborate regionally to negotiate private land management and destination marketing strategies and actions have been identified based on input from our hiking trails partners and access and create partnership agreements. through gaps identified during our experience market match analysis.

70 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

The success of the Hiking Tourism Master Plan will no doubt depend on Implementation of key strategies and action will be required in order the successful collaboration between hiking trails partners to help us to acheive an “Exceptional” Hiking Experiences Network. Some will be reach our goals. It will be important to carry this momentum over the easy to accomplish and others will take time while collaborative groups long term between champions and between jurisdictions as we move become established and funds are raised. The short, medium and long forward. term priorities for each are indicated using the following symbols: A number of key stakeholders can make a significant contribution to ST Short Term (1–5 Years) advancing hiking tourism in the VIC Region including the following leading groups: MT Medium Term (5–10 Years) • Tourism Vancouver Island, Destination BC and local Destination Marketing Organizations LT Long Term (10+ Years) • Provincial, Regional and local municipal governments and First Nations • Hiking Trails Groups: VISTA, BC Trails Society, E&N Trails Society, Trans Canada Trails, Federation of Mountain Clubs, Accessible Wilderness Society, Wild Pacific Trail Society, Sunshine Coast Trail Group, Experience the Gulf Islands, Gabriola Land and Trails, and others. • Private Land owners

DMO’s Private Land Owners

Trail Operators

Figure 16 Key Stakeholders

71 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.6.1 Destination Development Recommendations To transform and distinguish various hiking trails into “Exceptional” hiking experiences will take leadership, collaboration and a number of hiking trails partners. Municipal and regional district trails managers will need to take a leadership role along with Tourism Vancouver Island in enhancing hiking trails infrastructure in the VIC Region. This role will need to be articulated along with identifying supporting trails groups, agencies and funders within the working group who can:

1. Enhance existing hiking experiences to become “exceptional”:

iii. Establish a hiking trails ‘driving tour’ route across the a. Complete existing long distance hiking trails experiences MT that are currently underway (Vancouver Island Spine Trail, VIC Region, highlighting key hiking destinations and E&N, Trans Canada Trail, Sunshine Coast, Cape Scott Trail, exceptional hikes that starts and ends in Vancouver Experience Gulf Islands etc.). similar to the Coastal Circle Route, vancouver-island/driving-route. b. Bring all sanctioned, existing trails up to minimum standards ST for insurance, access agreements, maintenance monitoring e. Develop “themed” hikes (i.e., Ancient forests, First Nations, ST and regulatory signage. Geographic Features, Industrial Landscapes, etc.). f. Develop “iconic” destination hikes that are intense, c. Prioritize funding for enhancements on hiking trails that are ST MT unique, appeal to target markets, and that differentiate the memorable, and unique (i.e., Mt. Prevost or Finlayson etc. VIC Region from the competition. that can become an Island version of the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver). d. Implement a regional selection process to identify priorities ST for enhancement by focusing on unique trails that have g. Identify key cultural destinations that also have clusters of ST the potential to be iconic or on clusters of trails within easy hiking choices that appeal to the touring and exploring, access of urban centres or traveler destinations). ‘driving’ market.

i. Identify and select hiking trails experiences with the h. Identify locations for increased accommodations in MT potential to be “exceptional” – establish hiking trails key hiking destinations that address the ‘driving’ touring selection criteria and process to nominate priorities and exploring market such as campsites, motels, RV (Strolls, Excursions and Epics). campgrounds. ii. Select ‘exceptional’ hikes (top 10) as an early initial critical mass from which to launch the network. Create management plans to build and manage these over the long term.

72 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

2. Create an interpretive, story-telling framework: 3. Provide the right accommodations and amenities to support an ‘exceptional’ hiking experience: a. Work closely with First Nations, Aboriginal Tourism BC, MT heritage groups, governments, industry and trails partners to a. Encourage the supply of accommodations to be increased, MT identify, design interpretive plans and share specific stories enhanced and integrated / connected with the trails that make trails unique. throughout the Exceptional Hiking Experiences Network. b. Create a hiking trails and natural features touring route, that MT b. Engage with local business to provide connected ST touch on key destinations and themed hikes. transportation services, retail, food and beverage, i. Implement interpretive programs for all themed hikes. attractions and events that are connected with the ‘exceptional’ hiking experiences. c. Use online, printed signage and / or interactive maps ST according to market needs and as appropriate to the hiking experience. d. Partner with education institutions and First Nations, and MT other trails partners with local knowledge to identify opportunities for environmental, wildlife, historical and cultural learning (i.e., rare or endangered species, climate change, First Nations culture and traditions).

73 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.6.2 Destination Marketing Recommendations c. Create a hiking trails driving tour map that highlights key ST It is clear that the VIC Region has a significant number of hiking exceptional hiking destinations and themed hikes along a trails available to visitors. It will be important to market the hiking recommended route originating in Vancouver, that runs from potential of the VIC Region as a whole; however, it will be necessary the Gulf Islands up the east side of Vancouver Island and to be selective about which hikes can be truly exceptional and across to the Sunshine Coast before returning to Vancouver. deliver on the expectations that come with building a hiking brand. This recommended route can be marketed as one of Hello By developing principles of “Exceptional” Hiking Experiences, trail BC’s recommended BC Driving Routes. http://www.hellobc. managers, businesses, trails groups, and partners will be able to choose com/british-columbia/transportation-maps/driving-routes. Asp a practical number of trails to focus marketing resources and funding d. Similar to the Destination Q: Queensland, Australia efforts. Led by Tourism Vancouver Island, a professional marketing and ST Masterclass training program for developing innovative communications strategy will be paramount to realizing our hiking experiences. TVI could create a resource to orient potential. employees to the 'Exceptional Hiking Experiences Program'. A marketing strategy for hiking tourism could integrate easily with TVI’s e. Partner with Destination BC and other potential tourism current marketing campaigns, to appeal to the hiking and touring MT funders to build awareness and marketing materials for market. Engaging with both the touring and exploring market as well market-ready trails in the network. as the destination ‘adventure’ hiker will be important in creating awareness of our abundance of trails experiences. One of the most f. Create an internal - community communications and MT practical strategies to meet these multiple target market opportunities, marketing strategy with positive messaging for local will be to address our need as a region to bring a number of existing communities on the benefits of hiking tourism and trails up to “market ready” standards for the touring and exploring opportunities to connect with travelers (i.e., hold workshops market. Tourism Vancouver Island is a key resource for regional tourism hosted by key destinations to engage local businesses, trails operators and stakeholders to collaborate and effectively leverage groups and broader audiences). tourism experience development and marketing opportunities. g. Create an exceptional hiking experiences ambassador MT program within local communities. 1. Build awareness of the Exceptional Hiking Experiences Network: h. Establish a VIC Region Hiking Experiences online “portal” ST for information and trip planning—the portal could be an a. Create an Exceptional Hiking Experiences Network brand. MT independent, stakeholder managed website; a section of the Tourism Vancouver Island website; and/or linked to b. Create a regional marketing and communications strategy MT Destination BC’s to promote the Exceptional Hiking Experiences. i. Establish the timeline for implementation, marketing and i. Create cooperative marketing strategies with Aboriginal ST launch of the ‘exceptional’ hiking experiences marketing Tourism BC, where hiking is supported by the local plan. community and First Nations.

74 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast

2. Maximize the positive benefits of tourism while minimizing the negative impacts on the environment, First Nations and host communities: a. Build community awareness for greater capacity and local ST buy-in for hiking tourism. b. Highlight and promote hiking tourism success stories. MT c. Identify key marketing prospectus and incentives to MT encourage locals and service providers to start new initiatives and businesses integral to building hiking tourism culture.

75 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4.6.3 Destination Management Recommendations 2. Ensure ‘Exceptional’ hiking experiences are well managed Partnerships and collaboration are key to creating successful hiking and safe: destinations and to grow tourism, particularly as hiking trails can potentially cross several jurisdictions. As TVI transitions into the next a. Develop management plans for all trails in the Exceptional ST phase of strategy development, clear, ongoing and meaningful Hiking Experiences Network. engagement and communications with our trail partners, as well as b. Adopt and implement a consistent visitor education with the general public, will be essential. MT program such as ‘leave no trace’. 1. Create a management and planning framework for c. Encourage the development of a “Friends of…” Partnership ST ST implementation of the Exceptional Experiences Network: program and engage with local trails groups and volunteers.

d. Create minimum trails standards/design guidelines for the ST a. Identify a stakeholder working group to oversee and govern ST ‘ Exceptional’ hiking experiences network that is practical, the Exceptional Hiking Experiences program. realistic and implementable. Ensure all trails within the (These should be representative organizations with a VIC Region’s exceptional hiking experience network are commitment to implement the recommendations over the designed, constructed and managed to these standards. long term).

b. Identify regional boundaries, management structure, partner ST roles and responsibilities for implementation of the network. 3. Maintain up-to-date inventory of hiking trails and trail attributes database: c. Create a hiking economic development plan for key hiking ST destinations – identify supporting tourism attractions, transportation services, accommodations and other a. Undertake an annual call for trails inventory updates. ST amenities as well as promotional plan for both the touring market and destination hikes. b. Evolve the current inventory to include actual trail alignments MT And continue to build capacity for tour packaging over the (GPS coordinates and complete trail). LT long term

76 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

4. Make it easier to access the Exceptional Hiking Experiences 5. Establish as sustainable source of funding: Network: a. Create a catalogue of potential funding sources that ST a. Develop and implement a consistent, branded and ST support hiking tourism development—grants, private identifiable, exceptional experiences network wayfinding donations, in-kind support. framework (trail information, icons, logo and marketing i. Identify public/private funding partners (e.g., Tourism materials). Partners for Rural Development, Community Tourism b. Ensure all trails in the exceptional hiking experience network ST Opportunities through Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and apply the wayfinding framework. Innovation, Destination BC).

i. Establish a wayfinding plan for the top 10 exceptional b. Connect potential funders with trail developers. ST hikes that includes signage and mapping. c. Work collaboratively with First Nations, Aboriginal Tourism BC c. Ensure comprehensive wayfinding plans are in place for all MT ST trails that are a part of the Exceptional Hiking Experiences and government to support priority initiatives. Network (include online, print and hand-held applications). d. Secure funding for ongoing management of Exceptional ST Hiking Experiences Network over the next 5 years. d. Develop a VIC Region online portal for better trip planning ST and experience selection with up-to-date information. i. Secure funding for updating the existing hiking trails ( database and attribute reporting system annually. ii. Secure funding for the design and development and maintenance of the top 10 exceptional hiking trails.

6. Collaborate regionally to negotiate private land access and create partnership agreements:

a. Include First Nations, trails groups, regional Government, ST tourism representatives and other key stakeholders in discussions.

b. Collaborate regionally to keep up-to-date information of MT trails through private lands, on the web portal.

c. Approach private land holders after regional selection ST processes have been completed to identify enhanced and exceptional hiking trails. i. Achieve the necessary agreements and permits, and insurance are in place to access trails on private lands.

77 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region 5. Monitoring Our Progress

Ongoing monitoring of meaningful performance metrics provides essential feedback for champions and stakeholders of the exceptional hiking experiences network. Monitoring allows for informed decision making and can draw early attention to emerging issues, successes, product lifecycle evaluation and destination marketing and positioning. Progress will be monitored through the following performance indicators:

Goals Performance Indicators

Deliver Exceptional Hiking • Number / length of trails designated into the network Experiences • Hiking Experiences - key messages, brand, logo and promotional outreach, website standards • Selection of regional partners, funders & collaborators • Determine implementation strategy & timeline for launch • Number of trails mapped > over 250 (since phase 2)

Create Positive Relationships • New business starts between Industry (business, • New job numbers DMO’s, private land holders, governments, First Nations, • New projects or initiatives identified visitors and residents) • Increased Public engagement participants, local media coverage, • Increased volunteers, ‘friends of’ and trails stewards • Ambassador program • Implementation of Destination management initiatives • New partner agreements with private land owners • Managing committee consists of representatives from all stakeholders • Catalogue of potential funding sources • Funding partners (Aboriginal Tourism BC, First Nations, Wilderness Tourism, environmental orgs, Land Conservancies, health organizations), regional economic trusts (ICET)

Increased visitation, length of • Number of visitors coming to Exceptional Hiking Trails stay and spending • Increased retail spending in hiking destinations • Increased length of stays in hospitality industry, camping, RV sites

78 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

12. Vancouver Island University & The Sociable Scientists (2015). Visitor 6. References Profile Vancouver Island North - Summer 2015. Retrieved March 1. Canadian Tourism Commission (2011). Experiences. A toolkit for 3, 2016 from partners of the CTC 2nd Edition. Retrieved January 19, 2016 from uploads/2015/11/VES-Vancouver-Island-North-Profile. 13. Looking more closely at the Vancouver Island North Region, toolkit.pdf “Visitors…specified which activities their groups participated in 2. Ibid. during their stay. Hiking ranked in the top three activities to the region with 55% participation during their stay. *Multiple activities 3. Pine, I., & Gilmore, J. (1998). Welcome to the Experience Economy. could be selected therefore combined percent does not equal Harvard Business Review, 76(4), 97-105. 100%. (p. 8). 4. Gaining the Edge 2015–2018: 14. Visitor Profile – Alberni Valley, Summer 2015 tourismstrategy/documents/GainingTheEdge_2015_2018.pdf 15. Lang Research, Travel Activity and Motivations Survey TAMS 2006 – 5. A Trails Strategy for BC, V6, November, 2012, pp. 7, 8, 9 Canadian Activity Profile: Hiking, Climbing, and Paddling While on 6. Tourism Victoria. (2015). The Wider Benefits of Tourism. Retrieved Trips. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://en.destinationcanada. February 4, 2015 from com/sites/default/files/pdf/Research/Product-knowledge/TAMS/ growing-destinations/benefits-of-tourism/the-wider-benefits-of- Canadian%20Travelers%20Outdoor%20Activity/CDN_Hiking_ tourism.html Climbing_Paddling_en.pdf 7. Recreation Sites and Trails BC, 2012. Trails Strategy for British 16. Tourism BC, 2009. Hiking Profile Overview. Retrieved February 7, Columbia. Retrieved February 8, 2016 from http://www. 2016 from Research-by-Activity/Land-based/Hiking_Sector_Profile.pdf.aspx pdf p. 9 17. Lang Research, Travel Activity and Motivations Survey TAMS 8. Leisure Information Network (N.D.). The Economic Benefits of Trails, 2006 – US Activity Profile: Hiking, Climbing, and Paddling While on Trail Monitor 1. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from Trips. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from default/files/attachments/sp0039.pdf collections/collection_2009/ic/Iu86-30-24-2006E.pdf 9. National Trails Coalition, 2010. Canadian Trails Study. Retrieved 18. United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2013). February 7, 2016 from Guidebook “Sustainable Tourism for Development”. Retrieved Canadian-Trails-Study.pdf February 4, 2015 from 10. Ibid. sustainable-tourism-development-developing-countries- document-three-interlinking-parts 11. Tourism BC. 2009/10 Outdoor Recreation Study, BC Resident 19. Participation, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www. GainingTheEdge_2015_2018.pdf (pp. 3, 4). All-Research-by-Activity/Outdoor-Recreation-Study-2009-2010,- 20. (Hardy, A. 2006, p. 3, UNBC). January-2013/Outdoor-Recreation-for-Distribution-14Jan13-FINAL- assets/community_development_institute/publications/a_hardy_ DRAFT-(2).pdf.aspx cdi_paper.pdf

79 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

21. Touring, Tourism Sector Profile, Destination British Columbia, 2014. 30. the-appalachian-trail/#bp=0/img1 ; by-Activity/Land-based/Tourism-Products_Touring_May2014.pdf. 10001424052702304448204579183843988273988 aspx 31. Recreation Sites and Trails BC, 2012. Trails Strategy for British 22. Columbia. Page 7. Retrieved February 8, 2016 from http://www. 23. pdf market-study-2013-web. new-adventure-tourism-report-reveals-263b-market-up-65-per- 32. annum-since-2009 remarkable-experiences/ 24. Butler, R.W. (1980), The Concept of A Tourist Area Cycle of Evolution: Implications for Management of Resources. Canadian Geographer,24,pp5-12 25. Only 36% of Grazers and 37% of Adventurers, however, currently use tour operators, compared with 48% of Enthusiasts. The younger the Enthusiast, the more likely they were to have booked everything through a travel agent of travel advisor. 26. Tourism Western Australia (N.D.). The 5 A’s of Tourism. Retrieved February 18, 2016 from five%20A’s%20of%20TourismLOW.pdf 27. Destination Canada (N.D.), Harnessing Innovation and Alignment, 2012-2016 Corporate Plan Summary. Retrieved February 19, 2016 from Corporate_reports/2012-2016_corporate_plan_summary_feb_7_e. pdf 28. Image sourced from: Travel Alberta (N.D.). The Alberta Tourism Brand: Connecting with Customers. Files/resources/brand/the-alberta-tourism-brand.pdf 29. Tourism BC. 2009/10 Outdoor Recreation Study, BC Resident Participation, 2013. (p. 42). Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http:// Activity/All-Research-by-Activity/Outdoor-Recreation-Study-2009- 2010,-January-2013/Outdoor-Recreation-for-Distribution-14Jan13- FINAL-DRAFT-(2).pdf.aspx

80 Appendix A Stakeholder Engagement Phase 1


Appendix A Stakeholder Engagement May 18, 2016


There are many similar issues between each geographic location and each has also expressed their unique differences.

1. What are our unique qualities that set us apart from other regions in BC?

• We offer coastal hikes and waterfront trails experiences.

• We offer a large number of trails experiences within a relatively small geographic region. (Diversity of ecology – low-land bogs , rugged coastlines, rainforest old growth, agricultural, urban)

• We offer a diversity of trails experiences within a relatively small geographic region with many that are family-oriented.

• Most of our trails are not crowded or over developed.

• Most of our trails are accessible all year around

• Most of our trails are free – (no fees)

• Wilderness trails (nature trails), even minutes from urban centres. (Civilized wilderness)

• Our topography! Many of our trails offer great views of the water and surrounding landscapes – even alpine trails.

2. Key under-developed assets?

• Inter-connected trails and loop trails i.e. Spine Trail

• Multi-day hikes – Front country, easy hikes through a number of towns or destinations. Could also appeal to Cyclists over longer distances i.e. Spine Trail, Cowichan Trail

• Abandoned rail lines – E&N, Cowichan Trail

• Trails through private lands

• Transportation services – connected system from arrival to destination,

• Services and businesses to support hikers

3. Important Stories or themes?

• First Nations Stories – Trading routes, creation stories, petroglyphs

• Big Tree Route – Ancient forest – Story of Giants (Avatar Grove, Cathedral Forest)

• Settlement History – Cape Scott Trail , trade routes, European Settlers

• Industrial History – mills, mining, timber, agriculture

• Geology/landforms history

• Nature Interpretive

• Coastal Stories - Ship Wrecks, shipping lane transportation routes, cruise ships

• New Castle Island, McLean Mill , Tonquin Trail Story, Trail to Horne Lake and Mt. Arrowsmith

4. Visitation

Although it is not well known if the visitors coming to each region are entirely unique, visitors coming for hiking trails experiences are primarily all coming for the breathtaking natural beauty that the Island coastal and inland alpine landscapes offer. Visitors are most impressed with the number of trails offered and the diversity of experiences that are possible in each geographic area. The main attraction is the wilderness experience with the added opportunity of chance encounters with wildlife.

Many local visitors will take advantage of hiking trails during vacations and quick weekend get- aways. Visitors coming from the Lower Mainland, other parts of the Province and other Provinces generally come for an extended weekend upwards to s a week or more in duration. This is mainly due to travel distance, ferry and other travel expenses to get here.

Destination hikers on Vancouver Island are different than other visitors. Hiking trails as destinations appeal primarily to outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a rugged wilderness experience such as the West Coast Trail, Juan de Fuca Trail, Sunshine Coast Trail or North Coast Trail. Many outdoor enthusiasts are also interested in other attractions or take in hiking experiences as a part of their overall tourism experience without being the sole focus of their trip; however they may not be coming for a particular destination hiking trail experience.

Many people are coming to “get away from it all” and appreciate the uncrowded, free, natural wilderness hiking experience. Travellers coming to Victoria and more urban centres are looking for more front-country experiences. Other attractions drawing visitors are:

• Winery tours

• Whale Watching and fishing charters

• Gardens and ancient forests

• Markets, agricultural based and local products

• Museums, totems, murals and old architecture,

• First Nations cultural experiences

• Other recreation activities such as fishing, skiing and golfing

Those surveyed agreed that people will continue to be repeat visitors once they have had a taste of the region’s trails offerings and other cultural attractions and realize that there is so much more to discover in the region than what they expected. Visitors are generally happy with their hiking experiences. Those who have expressed some disappointments have referred to the following:

• Negative visual impacts of logging

• Difficulty finding their intended destination (look-out point) or trail heads or that trails are not always clearly marked.

• Not enough information around trails (trip planning, or being unprepared for the ruggedness of the trail or terrain).

• Denied access to a previously accessible trail due to de-commissioned logging roads or gravel roads which are not accessible with rental cars.

A common misconception is that you have to be an experienced hiker to get a terrific trails experience. In fact, there is such a diversity of trails experiences offered throughout the region, that there is something for everyone.

Brands and Marketing

There are several hiking trails that are memorable and well-known locally within each area of the region (Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island) however, locals and visitors outside of the region may not be aware of them. Many are not branded or marketed except through local clubs or word of mouth. Some are market-ready for international travelers such as the West Coast Trail, in spite of little marketing. Many interviewees have expressed a need for a regional brand and marketing strategy that would allow them to cross promote hiking trails to visitors coming to their region. (See section 3.3)

Trails partners have both short and long term objectives for improving trail offerings in their region. Short term goals include improving wayfinding, adding supporting amenities, accommodations and marketing. Some are extending infrastructure that is already in the planning process. Long term objectives include trail partnerships and approvals to complete trail sections that are on private lands or that are lacking funding to complete. Short and long term plans are to have a more organized network of trails that are better supported with local services and accommodations to attract new tourism markets and improved economic development overall.

• Marketing our trails inventory as a cohesive network. Destinations need to get together to coordinate and promote each-others’ website for trails regionally • Improvements to beach access, washrooms and services, garbage cans and downtown infrastructure. • More Campgrounds, cabins, yurts, • Europeans especially like smaller family owned hotels. More from Europe than Alberta • Sherpa van services that pick up/drop off at trail heads • Markets from Europe attract cultural travelers; more novice hikers as a way to access the abundance of history • Cyclists spend 20% more on food and drink than hikers – target these trail users • Convert ‘Rails to Trails’ • Create trail clusters / regional and inter-regional connections / and hiking Touring Routes Marketing (similar to marketing clusters: ‘Ride the Cariboo’, Ski the ‘Powder Highway’.


To help us determine the Vision for Hiking Tourism in the Vancouver Island Region, participants were asked to complete the following sentence:

Imagine it’s May 2025, what headlines would you like to read in the local papers about hiking trails tourism on Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast?

Sample Answers:

“Hiking Trails Tourism generates economic and social benefits for local communities”

“Community involvement in trails at an all-time high”

“New epic hiking experiences on Vancouver island”

“Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast award winner for trails experiences”

Draft Goals were posed to the group. The group was asked whether they agreed with the goals or if they didn’t, to note what their concerns were.

• Enhance Existing Hiking Experiences: • Increase visitation, length of stay and spending: • Create Positive Relationships between industry (business), private land holders, visitors and residents.

Most were in agreement with these goals; however concerns around losing the fact that trails were not overcrowded or free were raised. Also, not to create experiences just for the sake of tourism. Trails needed to be sustainable, respect environmental best practices and not become over-used.

TVI Big Ideas Workshop Notes – March 2, Vancouver Island University 1:00-4:30 pm • 17 attendees

Follow-up: • Email attendees list to all attendees • Share workshop presentation • Share Market Readiness Map, criteria, and list of corresponding trails (i.e.: 17 Export Ready trails) • Online mapping tool recommendation for plan? • Feedback on Trails Experience Types: • Terminology: Is “Adventures” or “Epic” an appropriate title to describe back- country/epics?

• Suggest different title for Adventurers – They are all adventurers • Like: Green/Blue/Black with sign shape and visual description – pictograms for International visitors • Visual Landscape Experience: Instead of “clear cutting forest”, call it “Managed Forest”. Visible managed forest. • Consider dropping “Trails” from “Hiking Tourism Master Plan” • Typologies Epiphany: Strolls and left of centre Excursions are viable for packaging with secondary activities. Right of centre Excursions and Adventures then to have “Destination Hiking” as a primary travel motivator and may be relatively less interested in secondary attractions and activities. • Consider Trip duration for adventurers ( single day to multi day) • Key Opportunities (Priority Initiatives): • Packaging other aspects of the experience using a “theme” • Themed route, connecting accommodations • Route theme and length by experience type • Use local expertise, interpretation • Branded consistent signage • More trail networks • Gnome homes, dinosaurs, themes • Identify key amenity gaps • Marketing opportunities on trial (sulfide campaign) • More trail features and amenities info on web • Collaborate on key strategies and tactics with ownership amongst key stakeholder • More rest areas, amenities, camping sites, and accommodations along trails • Interpretive signage and partnerships with regional partners, working forest, First Nations • Marketing to local residents, re value and quality • GPS coordinates • Better communication and collaboration between stakeholder, promote consistent standards (seamless experiences) • Youth experiences • Promote supporting business development • Blogging for internal marketing • Promotion of health benefits • Detailed maps and info by theme, etc…app? • Stories of trials (history, culture, experiences) • Quality trail building (businesses, volunteer groups)

A.3 MINDMIXER Topic Summary Report

Topic: Identifying Successful Trail Brands Which Hiking Trails in the Vancouver Island Region are being marketed the most to travelers? We are looking to identify key success stories in the Region (Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast).

Ideas 6 Comments 3 Idea Statuses 0

Wild Pacific Trail 3Stars 3Comments

Blain S | Feb 23, 2016

West Coast Trail 0Stars 0Comments

Ross C4 | Mar 03, 2016

Vancouver Island Spine Trail - Victoria to Cape Scott 0Stars 0Comments

Terence L | Feb 13, 2016

The Sunshine Coast Trail, Powell River, BC 0Stars 0Comments

Jason G11 | Feb 20, 2016

National & Provincial Parks 0Stars 0Comments

Joli W | Feb 22, 2016

11% of people participated (7 of 66 total participants) 75% More than your average and 70% Less than the MindMixer average

Gender Breakdown Top Postal Codes 43% v8a 2l2 (3 Females) V0R3A0 57%

Age Breakdown 50%

0% 0% 0% 0%

14-17 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+

Topic Name: Enhance Our Appeal Idea Title: Create multi day itinerary options Idea Detail: easily point out what people want to see - a waterfall, mountain top views, river, old growth forest etc. then from there direct people to several multi day hiking itineraries they can print and use as a reference to plan their trip - we could include places to provision/equipment repair options/gear rental locations/guided tour options/local tips on best time of day or what to be aware of and include hashtags of all the communities so when they are posting their amazing pictures on instagram others can know which community to find these spots in Idea Author: Chelsea B Number of Stars 2 Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Better coordination with accomodation industry Idea Detail: Advertise more across the region about hiking opportunites on the island. The idea is to have someone stay a few extra nights when they are in our region or plan a return trip. Hiking may be one reason to do this. Idea Author: Doug D Number of Comments 0 1 Topic Name: Competitive Advantages for Trails Tourism

Idea Title: Let's develop a competitive plan! Idea Detail: I think one of our greatest competitive advantages for trails tourism right now is the fact that we are in the position to collectively develop a plan to maintain and strengthen our competitiveness. We are blessed with recognized world class trails such as the West Coast Trail, Sunshine Coast Trail, and North Coast Trail as examples. Let’s work together and generate ideas for trail/hiking tourism in the regions of Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast! I’m excited to get the conversation started and to learn what you have to share. Idea Author: Jody Y Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Variety of choices and services Idea Detail: There are a large variety of trails and geopgraphy all within close range. You can also expereince a range destinations from Alpine to beach walks. You can complete multi-day hikes or multiple short hikes within an afternoon. There are also a lot of communities to service trail heads. Idea Author: Doug D Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Year-round use, diversity of authentic experiences Idea Detail: This region has world class trails in a moderate climate that allows for year-round use. There is a diversity of experiences and opportunities for all users. These range from easily accessible trails showcasing our local temperate rainforests to the rugged reaches where dynamic weather conditions test ones resolve. Experiences are authentic, affordable and available to everyone. Idea Author: Jason G Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Proactive Local Governments 2 Idea Detail: I'm not sure about the rest of the Island but the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach, and the Regional District of Nanaimo have been proactive with trails development and promotion. They have worked on getting access from land owners to establish a variety of trails and have increased their connectivity. Idea Author: Blain S Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: So many options within short radius Idea Detail: Vancouver Island as a trail destination makes sense as hikers could have lake/river/ocean trail experiences all within days of each other - i think we could create 1-5 day hiking itineraries for Vancouver Island to help map out exact routes/options to promote several options and include several communities Idea Author: Chelsea B Number of Comments 0 3 Topic Name: Who is Traveling to the Region Idea Title: International and regional Idea Detail: Last year we completed a number of surveys in our parks and were suprised at the number of visitors from outside the country visiting our regional parks. We do very little marketing but they found out about them by word of mouth or brochures at their hotels. The travellers in our region tend to be seeking iconic vistas or nature experiences. They may also

be passing through for west coast fishing. Idea Author: Doug D Number of Comments 0 4 Topic Name: Who Isn't Coming to the Region But Could Be? Idea Title: wayfinding and access Idea Detail: some of the trails are not well marked or may be on private lands and often require using logging roads to access the trails. Idea Author: Doug D Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Improve way finding Idea Detail: •Trail way finding needs to be improved upon. Major trailheads should be well marked with consistent signage. •Connections to trailheads from or through the developed portions of the region should be as seamless as possible. Expanding local transportation options could help make these connections easier and would make it easier for those who travel to a destination without a personal automobile to get to trailheads. Idea Author: Jason G Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Lack of signage and available maps Idea Detail: Sometimes the visitor centre struggles directing people to some of the most stunning view points or trails because they pass through private land/property at some point and we don't want to be held liable for directing folks on private property if something did go wrong. Idea Author: Chelsea B Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Visitors need improved access to trail information Idea Detail: We need to use the latest means (internet, social media, GIS maps, GPS tracks and waypoints, digital imagery) in an integrated fashion in order to fully convey what the possibilities are on VI. 5 As more of the Spine Trail is completed, VISTA (the Association) intends to pursue this, including an improved website with quality information about trail locations; trail conditions and difficulties; and maps, GPS info and imagery that can be downloaded (i.e. rather than in printed form or guidebook) to smartphone or tablet. Details to be worked out! Idea Author: Terence L Number of Comments 0 6 Topic Name: Improve Marketing Effectiveness Idea Title: create multi-day packages Idea Detail: work with other tourism sector providers to create multi-day packages. IE most regions now have wineries, brew pubs or local markets so consider an itinerary of suggestions of places to hike in the morning combined with a more mellow afternoon/evening experience. These packages will have to be marketed through advertising abroad. Idea Author: Doug D Number of Comments 0

7 Topic Name: Identifying Successful Trail Brands Idea Title: The Sunshine Coast Trail, Powell River, BC Idea Detail: The Sunshine Coast Trail is a 180-kilometre back country experience that stretches from Sarah Point in Desolation Sound to Saltery Bay. In 1992 a small group of people founded the Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PAWS) and started building trails that linked the remaining stands of old growth forests in the region’s front country. The Sunshine Coast Trail traverses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal shorelines, along creeks and lakes, through old growth forests to panoramic mountaintops. It provides hikers with the opportunity to experience Powell River’s breathtaking back country with its rich fauna and flora. Attracting visitors from around the world, this epic trail now boasts 13 huts with one more planned this year, making it the longest hut-to-hut hiking experience in Canada (and the only free one). This is the best outdoor adventure vacation value in North America! Idea Author: Jason G Number of Comments 0 Idea Title: Vancouver Island Spine Trail - Victoria to Cape Scott Idea Detail: VISTA is planning and building a continuous non-motorized trail from Victoria to Cape Scott. It will link up a number of existing trails, use some roads and old roads/rail grades as well as build new linking sections of trail. South of Duncan it is on the Trans-Canada Trail route. There is a more or less continuous section between the west end of Cowichan Lake and Port Alberni. From Alberni, it first follows the Log Train Trail before climbing up to the Beaufort Mts. crest at Mt. Joan. It then follows a pretty well known route along the Beaufort Crest to Mt. Clifton; from there is new cleared trail and a complex of mountain bike/hiking trails right into Cumberland. North of Strathcona Park and its trails, planning is underway and the support of First Nations is being sought. The last section to Cape Scott will use the North Coast Trail built a few years ago. The Spine Trail has the potential to link up with many offshoots along its route; to be a backbone for a VI system. Idea Author: Terence L 8 Number of Comments 0 9

Appendix B Stakeholder Engagement Phase 2

April 13, 2016 - Realizing Our Potential – Workshop Feedback on the Draft Master Plan for Hiking Tourism – TVI

25 participants ranging from government, trails builders, tourism representatives, timber industry, economic development/chamber of commerce.

23 surveys returned: (see p. 2 for statistics)

• Most participants were supportive of the overall direction that the masterplan provided or were neutral. • Many would have benefitted from participating in earlier workshops as the information is complex and the process was rigorous. • Many participants would have benefitted from longer discussion and consideration of the strategies/recommendations in advance of the workshop or be paired with others who had attended previous workshops. • Only 1 participant was not supportive of the plan

Vision Statement:

• Needs wordsmithing • Change ‘transform’ to ‘elevate’ • Needs a tag line

Trails Typologies:

• Epic doesn’t really capture it: Everyone wants an Epic Adventure, Experience vs. ability, Scenery Epic vs. Steep Epic Experience • Access through gravel roads is a barrier to access some trails (rental cars,

Unique Selling Proposition

• Wildlife viewing ie; whale watching, salmon hatchery, shellfish harvesting activity,k • We have 2 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves • Fresh and clean • Good Safety and Emergency Services • Cell service coverage • Local First Nations knowledge

Tourism Zones:

• Ensure that they are accurately represented • Map needs clarification or expansion of the zones – purpose of the zones is not clear? Destination Management:

• How can Islands Trust be involved? • Perhaps a range of standards (Stroll vs. excursion vs epic) is more realistic than a minimum trails standards. Visitor expectations need to match reality. • NOT to create a minimum trails standards, BUT rather define and apply a range of standards to cover the full range of reality. • How do you identify REGIONS? Who sets priorities? • Identify a leader to move the strategy forward • New Funding Sources: Premier’s intiative for communities smaller than 25,000 for shovel-ready projects (interpretive or trail) • Need to identify a stable source of funding – provincial contribution (Remarkable Hiking Experiences) • Priority is to manage what is existing – not to create ‘new’ experiences • Develop standards for the ‘remarkable experience trails’ - for promotion • Trails standards should set the bar for funding priorities • Formalize trails maintenance under a regional plan to find funding (provincial standards exist but are not applied/maintained for all trails) Must rely on partnering with other groups. • Who creates the management plans? Who leads? • Limited resources for maintenance – volunteers are burning out and aging out. See (ImpactMoneyFinder) • Discussion of a user/pay system for remarkable hiking experiences (should be discussed at a provincial level not for individual trails) • Insurance required to cover trails volunteers • Need funding/sustainability strategies • Suggest recommendations for how to get private landowners on board. Make it attractive, by addressing their risks and suggest how your approach will mitigate them. • Advocate for legislative changes from Province to strengthen 3rd party liability on private lands. • Provide incentives for private land owners to enter into access agreements.

Destination Marketing:

• “remarkable” is a social media term • Add simple pictogram to each zone • Keep it simple • Include Marketing to Locals • Ensure messaging is developed to encourage longer stays • Focus on locals – Create an Ambassador Program • How/Who is going to market the plan? Implementation? • How is buy-in created? • Interpretive Program: Highlight forestry industry (working forest) and put a spin on the positive • Promote a hiking culture through annual events • Start with provincial funding for top 10 Vancouver Island Trails

Destination Development:

• Shoreline is a very important Theme • Opportunity to have hikers coming off the West Coast Trail stay for additional days at a comfy resort • Ensure amenities are in place •

Hiking Tourism Master Plan – Tourism Vancouver Island

Workshop Participant Survey

1. Do you see a benefit for your community or organization to be involved in a regional hiking tourism destination master plan?

Most saw a benefit for being involved in a regional hiking tourism master plan

Yes absolutely! I think so Not Sure Not Really No Way! °15 °4 °4 °0 °0

2. Do you generally agree with the Potential Tourism Zones as proposed?

Most participants agreed or agreed with some modifications to the map

Yes Not Sure No

3. How supportive are you of the following elements in the Draft Master Plan:

Most participants were highly supportive or strongly supported the topics in this section

Draft Vision

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °2 °16 °5 °0 °0

Draft Outcomes

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °4 °16 °3 °0 °0

Hiking Experience Types

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °5 °14 °3 °1 °

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °8 °12 °3 ° °

Destination Development Recommendations

Strongly Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Supportive Unsupportive °3 °12 °8 ° °

Destination Management Recommendations

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °3 °17 °3 ° °

Destination Marketing Recommendations

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °4 °14 °5 ° °

4. Overall, how supportive are you of the draft plan and the direction is sets for hiking tourism in the region?

Strongly Supportive Supportive Neutral Unsupportive Strongly Unsupportive °4 °14 °4 °1 °0

5. Would you like to continue to keep in touch with the Hiking Tourism Master Plan as it progresses? (if so, please provide your name and email contact)

6. Are there other considerations that should be addressed or expanded upon in the final Hiking Tourism Master Plan?


New model of sports tourism with sustainable tourism development to increase tourist arrivals in central aceh regency, indonesia.

\r\nYoki Afriandy Rangkuti

  • Postgraduate Faculty of Sports Science, Universitas Negeri Semarang, Semarang City, Indonesia

Introduction: This study explores the development and implementation of a new sports tourism product called “Run H2O Ride” as a strategy for sustainable tourism in Indonesia.

Methods: The research employs a research and development (R&D) methodology, focusing on identifying potential issues, conducting literature reviews, designing the product, validating the design, and undergoing product development. A combination of discussion group forums (FGD) and expert judgment decisions was used to design the new sport tourism model.

Results: The effectiveness of the model was assessed through limited product tests, main product tests, and operational product tests involving respondents from the local community and tourists. The results indicate that the “Run H2O Ride” model has been well-received, with positive feedback on its suitability and effectiveness in attracting tourists and enhancing the local economy.

Discussion: The study concludes by recommending further research to refine the model and emphasizes the importance of local government support and community participation in sustainable tourism development. Theoretical implications highlight the significance of sports tourism events in promoting tourism, while practical implications suggest alternative solutions for increasing tourist visits and improving destination image. Policy recommendations for local governments are proposed to adopt and implement sports tourism events, aligning with long-term development plans for regional tourism growth.

1 Introduction

The creation of jobs, the distribution of wealth, and the development of local culture are recognized economic benefits of tourism at the global level. Being the world's largest financial sector ( 1 ), tourism stimulates exports, creates jobs, and improves the lives of millions of people ( 2 ). Radicchi ( 3 ) states that tourism is one of the economic sectors often discussed from several points of view used to measure the nature of the sector. Contemporary tourism is evolving and becoming the foremost industrial sector in the world due to its positive social, cultural, and economic effects. Many countries benefit from this industry in meeting the demands of tourists ( 4 , 5 ). Brykova et al. and Alimov et al. ( 2 , 6 ) state that because it plays a direct role in the creation and growth of a nation's tourist activities, the degree to which a country realizes its tourism potential determines how successful the tourism industry in that nation will be. In general, the tourism business is part of the economic revival of many developing countries ( 7 , 8 ).

Indonesia is one of the developing countries, so Indonesian tourism is now predicted to be able to replace state income from the mining sector, which has been the main sector to date, because tourism is a labor-intensive sector that has a direct influence on the community ( 9 – 13 ). Economic development is a complex procedure that includes significant adjustments to social and economic structures, including eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, and resolving unemployment in the context of economic expansion ( 13 – 15 ). To create resilience in communities, regions, and countries, sports events have proved to benefit communities and hosts in many ways, including creating jobs and a better perception of the location ( 16 ).

Sporting events are an important part of tourism products that are utilized to optimize economic impact and improve the image of the host destinations ( 17 ) and effectively reduce poverty in some local communities ( 18 ) through the creation of new jobs ( 19 ). These events function akin to a symbiotic mutualism regarding tourism and sports revenue ( 20 ). They have even become an industry in building economic and social benefits for countries around the world ( 21 , 22 ). Ferranti et al. ( 23 ) highlight the positive appeal felt, especially in developing countries. The positive impact of sports tourism events must also be felt by rural local communities to build equality in developing countries ( 24 ). In addition, sustainable tourism development can be integrated with providing employment and good infrastructure development ( 25 ).

This clarifies what Carr et al. ( 26 ) expressed about the principles of long-term sustainability and natural resource management being able to support all forms of tourism, including the planning, execution, and oversight of local community tourism. Researchers have previously published journal articles and/or seminar manuscripts on a variety of topics related to local community tourism ( 26 – 31 ). This early work supports the development of the economic welfare of local communities and the development of tourism to enhance social, cultural, and place identities for surrounding communities ( 32 – 35 ). As revealed by Han et al., Kim et al., and Lee ( 36 – 38 ), sustainable tourism development is important in meeting the needs of tourists and adding to the economy of the surrounding community so that the quality of life improves for all.

The debate on the significance of sporting events, therefore, centers on the strategy of promoting tourism, by either exploring sports tourism destinations, or focusing on sports tourism heritage events ( 39 ). Researchers in the field of marketing assert that the image of the destination is very important ( 40 ). Moreover, Jenkins ( 41 ) suggests that leveraging sporting events (legacy) is preferable to merely hosting them. Accurate curation of the future tourism segmentation is crucial ( 42 ). Specifically, both central and local governments are encouraging tourism activities in Central Aceh District, Aceh Province, Indonesia, by promoting them through sports tourism events. Unfortunately, there have not been many previous studies that deeply examine the development of sports tourism by combining these two elements: exploring tourist destinations utilizing natural beauty and sports heritage. Therefore, this study aims to accomplish the following: (1) to design a new sports tourism model suitable for organizing the “Tour Delut Tawar” event in Central Aceh District, Aceh Province, and (2) to test the suitability and effectiveness of the new product model to increase future tourist arrivals. This research is significant as a preliminary design related to the development of new sports tourism products in Aceh Province. It also aims to support the Aceh Provincial Government's Long-Term Development Plan 2023–2027, which calls for new sports tourism products to be developed in the sports industry, contributing to regional foreign exchange income and improving the community's economy ( 43 ).

2 Conceptual framework

2.1 sports tourism.

Tourism and sports are complementary components and intersect with culture, impacting social behavior ( 44 ). Many developed and developing countries have established and popularized sports tourism ( 11 ). Sports are a common motivation for tourists in going on tourist trips ( 45 ). González-García et al. and Preuss ( 46 , 47 ) affirm that sports tourism could be interpreted as activities carried out while traveling or staying in places outside one’s usual environment. Hinch and Higham ( 48 ) define the idea of sports tourism as a short trip centered on sports away from home, where tournaments involve the uniqueness of each region, physical prowess, and games played according to certain rules. Chang et al. and Gibson ( 49 , 50 ) state that sports tourism is recreation-based travel that takes individuals outside their home community to participate in and watch sports activities. Dauter ( 51 ), Fries ( 52 ), Gilman and Huebner ( 53 ), Hallmann et al. ( 54 ), and Nelson et al. ( 55 ) have stressed that a lot of people's lives these days revolve around leisure and physical activity in general, and that leading an active lifestyle is beneficial to one's health and wellbeing, both passively by going to sporting events as a spectator and actively by playing sports on vacation or even traveling specifically to attend sporting events. Three categories of sports tourist activities are widely acknowledged: history or nostalgic sports tourism, sports event tourism, and active sports tourism ( 56 ). Malchrowicz-Mosko and Munsters ( 57 ) and Woodham ( 58 ) emphasize tourist intentions are divided into two basic forms: active sports tourism, which is based on elite athletes through physical participation and competition, and passive sports tourism, which is based solely on attending sporting events as spectators and visiting new places.

The tourism industry is now starting to use sports and local culture as a means of promotion to impact economic expansion by attracting visitors ( 59 ). Misener and Mason ( 60 ) state that public officials believe that sports and sporting events can catalyze local development. Tourism researchers suggest that sports tourism events coincide with elevating the traditions of local communities as a resource for developing future tourism initiatives ( 61 ). Maintaining the sports tourism sector and gaining sympathy from local communities is considered significant ( 49 ). In addition, the poor image of a destination ( 62 ) is a significant factor influencing residents’ support for developing sports tourism in their area ( 63 ). The surrounding and local communities will feel the benefits and provide support in realizing sustainable tourism in their area ( 64 , 65 ). Conversely, marginalizing local people from tourism expansion will deplete the chances of success and impact socioeconomic inequality ( 49 , 66 ).

2.2 Indonesia's sports tourism potential and master plan

The development of the tourism industry is one of the strategic steps that can be taken to support the National Sports Grand Design (DBON) program. This design is a master plan that outlines the national sports coaching and development policies’ specific directions to be implemented effectively, efficiently, superiorly, measurably, systematically, accountably, and sustainably, especially in the fields of education, recreation, achievement, and the sports industry based on science and technology ( 67 ). One of the goals is to advance the sports-based national economy ( 49 ). Zulfikar et al. ( 68 ) state that sports as a tourist attraction have made tourism and the sports industry cater to tourists seeking a sports experience. Furthermore, the DBON states that the sports industry is directed to developing sports tourism ( 69 ). The tourism industry has begun to recognize the existence of sports tourism as a part of tourism activity where tourists are directly involved in sports activities or see sports-related activities ( 70 ). Meanwhile, Bangun ( 71 ) and Lagarense et al. ( 72 ), claim that sports tourism is the new paradigm for the growth of travel and tourism in Indonesia.

Indonesia is an archipelagic country consisting of thousands of islands ( 73 ) and has a variety of tribes, languages, customs, and cultures. UNESCO has begun documenting the culture of all countries in the world as World Cultural Heritage (World Heritage) ( 74 – 76 ). Ramón-Cardona et al. ( 74 ) state that understanding the significance of specific cultural and natural sites to enhance their conservation and raise awareness can encourage tourism and benefit the surrounding area. Gański ( 77 ) states that tourists are attracted mainly by the rich historical and cultural heritage. Dladla et al. ( 78 ) state that cultural heritage tourism can attract many tourists because of its significance to society. Culture is very close to sports ( 79 , 80 ). Irfan et al. and Yu et al. ( 81 , 82 ) state that public demand for sports cultural tourism will decline along with the combination of the development of conventional sports cultural resources and sports cultural tourism, which will ultimately push the boundaries of traditional fashion and impact the development of a quality sports tourism sector. Hinch and Higham ( 48 ) state that sports tourism shows that the evolution of sports can directly impact the progress of tourism. Perić ( 83 ) states that the impact of culture on sports tourism is related to moral and social changes as well as the economy of a country. In some situations, a country's cultural and environmental effects are related to the positive impact on state services to its people, creating tourism prospects in that country ( 84 ). In addition, tourism researchers suggested that these sports tourism events use sports legacy as a resource to develop new tourism strategies aimed at drawing sports visitors ( 61 ).

The Gayo tribe is one of the ethnic groups in Aceh Province and spreads mostly in Central Aceh Regency, located on the westernmost island of Sumatra. This tribe contributes to the diversity of tribes in Indonesia. The Gayo tribe is an indigenous group of people from the Gayo highlands, which is the area around Lake Laut Tawar at an altitude of 1,500 m above sea level, so this area is known as the land above the clouds. The sports heritage event for the Gayo tribe is known as “Pacu Kude”, commonly known as the sport of horse racing, and it has long been contested during the Dutch colonial era ( 85 ). This is stated in the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture Decree regarding intangible cultural heritage. In general, the older the show, the more embedded it becomes as part of the region's heritage and the stronger the brand in commercial terms ( 86 ). Cultural heritage is important in local tourism development strategies because it attracts visitors, preserves cultural identity, and encourages regional economic growth ( 78 ). Sustainable tourism management is necessary for this tourist destination, which is one of the world's biggest industries with extensive cultural heritage that offers several resources to raise the community's standard of living ( 87 ).

However, the current flow of globalization threatens the existence of sports heritage, which should be able to integrate perfectly into the sports tourism industry. Even sports themselves are also eroded by globalization. As expressed by Higham et al. ( 88 , 89 ), a sport reflects individual identities that have been confounded and national identities that the forces of globalization have eroded. Higham ( 89 ) states that the development and hybridization of sports and the growth of virtual sports and online gaming represent an ongoing evolutionary route. Even more dramatic is the idea that greater access to space will give rise to a new generation of sports, some already under development, such as solar-powered moon sailing and groundbreaking, zero-gravity sporting facilities ( 90 ). It is not impossible that the threat of sports tourism in the future will also lead to this. Kuzior et al. ( 91 ) state that globalization and the Industrial Revolution triggered increased competitiveness in the market, which necessitated a paradigm shift in tourism business models.

There is greater competition in the sports tourism business today after the pandemic, where each region competes to have a good image. The dark history of war conflicts from 1976 to 2005 still affects the bad image of this area for tourists who want to visit. The growth of this industry in Indonesia is intrinsically a political activity based on various factors and interests ( 92 ). The transformation of sports tourism must be based on the innovation matrix of local governments, which will allow tourist destinations to emerge from the crisis and solve environmental, economic, social sustainability problems ( 93 – 95 ), and political impact ( 68 ). As revealed by Su et al. ( 96 , 97 ), tourists frequently view a location with an exceptional reputation as more reliable, valid, and competitive. Some destinations are tourism hubs. Therefore, authorities can distinguish tourist destinations from similar destinations by positioning them as unique and competitive, making them more attractive ( 98 ). Chalip et al. and Chalip and McGuirty ( 99 – 101 ) state that marketers have focused on organizing sports events as a strategy to increase the image of each region's destinations and differentiate their tourism products. Although Hassan ( 102 ) states that competitiveness is the capacity to develop and incorporate value-added products while preserving resources and a position in the market relative to rivals, it also refers to a destination's relative capacity to satisfy visitor needs on elements of the tourism experience that tourists consider important ( 103 , 104 ), which includes synergetic elements addressing visitors’ needs, wants, and desires, given their time and budget constraints ( 105 , 106 ). Bruhn and Rohlmann ( 107 ) state that sports are now more important and interesting to all social classes. Preuß ( 108 ) defines sports brands as a distinct image deeply ingrained in the minds of fans and other reference groups, according to a social psychology phenomenon applied to sports brands.

In addition, natural wealth in Central Aceh Regency has not been fully utilized as an object of sports tourism to attract visitors. As revealed by Wijaya et al. ( 109 ), Pakaya et al. ( 110 ), Rahmafitria and Misran ( 111 ), Mallen and Adams ( 112 ), and Rusyanto Fitriantono and Kristiyanto ( 113 ), there are seven requirements indicating natural potential in Indonesia that can be met to create natural destinations; the following factors affect geography: (1) topography and landforms; (2) climate and weather; (3) rock material; (4) Geographical Location; (5) water; (6) flora; and (7) wildlife. If promoted effectively, sports tourism and nature can exploit a wide, sports-friendly audience willing to participate in exciting tourist experiences ( 114 ). Thus, tourism highly depends on a destination's environmental/natural and cultural attractiveness ( 97 , 115 , 116 ). According to Hallmann et al. ( 54 ), the sports tourism industry makes it possible to take advantage of this opportunity by configuring the right offerings for the purpose and giving visitors the illusion of adventure and experience. However, this has not been done by the Regional Government through the Culture and Tourism Office and the Youth and Sports Office in Central Aceh Regency because it only follows the trend of the image of other regions that have long built and carried out their sports tourism activities. One of these trends is organizing events internationally and spending a lot of money but getting minimal results ( 117 , 118 ). Thus, the target number of visitors and participants who attended the “Tour Delut Tawar” event was not achieved, as presented in Table 1 .

Table 1 Data on the results of the 2022 “Tour Delut Tawar” event.

Indications of failing to achieve targets and results in the event are due to only including bicycle races as an attraction. Several authors have drawn attention to the inefficiencies in the industry caused by the lack of collaboration between sports and tourism organizations ( 42 , 119 – 123 ). Tchetchik et al. ( 105 ) emphasize that this tourist attraction is the main tourism product that provides various goods and services to attract tourists. This is an important reason for the existence of tourist destinations and a major pull factor for sports tourism development purposes ( 124 – 126 ). Febrianto et al. ( 127 ) state that sports tourism events should improve the community's economy because this competition can invite many people to attend and watch the race. Furthermore, it improves the economic welfare of residents ( 128 ).

This research is an original research work that fills the gap in the sports tourism literature with product development based on several stages of testing, consisting of limited trials, main trials, and operational tests conducted on tourist visitors in Central Aceh Regency. A preliminary study, especially in Aceh Province, investigates a new model of sports tourism in organizing “Tour Delut Tawar” events, highlighting the gap between the expectations and reality concerning results and targets when organizing events. This research offers a unique and valuable contribution that has never been explored before, hence contributing significantly to research on sustainable tourism in the future.

This study employed the research and development (R&D) methodology, a process used to produce certain products and analyze their effectiveness ( 129 , 130 ). The R&D followed the Richey and Klein procedure improvement methodology at level 4 investigation ( 131 , 132 ). The steps involved in this research process are identifying potential issues, literature review and data collection, product design, design validation, and product development. The product has also undergone restricted testing, a main trial, an operational trial, a second product revision, a third product revision, and a first trial. Dissemination and implementation are the last steps.

Two methods were used to design a new sports tourism model, namely, a discussion group forum (DGF) and expert judgment decisions. The DGF consisted of a closed questionnaire involving experts from academia, the tourism culture office, and the youth sports office as representatives of the local government, totaling 20 people. After that, a preliminary study of the initial product design was conducted, focusing on the types of sports included in the model, route selection, and mileage, carried out in the field. The data were of the questionnaire instrument analysis rubric kind. Data were gathered in multiple phases to achieve predefined goals, including product design, design stage, design validation, product design revision, and product production. During the design stage, the research team kept in close contact with experts to choose a product design that best fits the needs analysis findings. The collection of research implementation procedures can be seen in the following ( Figure 1 ) flowchart.

Figure 1 Procedure of product development chart.

Expert judgment decisions, collection methods, and content validity all contribute to the validation of the research data. In addition, external validation is conducted using the Likert scale (4-point) and product moment correlation with 20 samples and 10 statement items. The Cronbach alpha reliability test was used to analyze reliability. The answers were synthesized and statistically processed using SPSS Statistics, version 26 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) ( 133 ).

The overall sample size in the study consisted of 105 respondents. This study used a mixed methods sampling approach, or combination sampling method ( 134 , 135 ), which consists of purposive sampling (direct designation) and random sampling (random selection) based on specific criteria related to individuals who have prior experience in running, swimming, and riding. The use of a combination of purposive sampling and random sampling is very relevant in research ( 136 ) that requires the inclusion of individuals with specific skills or characteristics while also aiming for generalizable results. All respondents were asked to fill out a questionnaire via Google Forms and submit their answers during the interval from 25 February to 24 March 2024.

The questioners were distributed and implemented in limited trials, main trials, and operational trials as the subsequent phases to determine the viability of research products ( 137 ). In determining the sample size, calculating the standard error (SE) involves dividing the standard deviation (SD) of the dependent variable by the square root of the previously selected sample size (n). If the result is below 2.0, it indicates that the number of samples is sufficient, as it proves to be homogeneous and representative of the population. For practicality, the target was to recruit 15 respondents for limited trials, 30 respondents for main trials, and 60 respondents for operational trials. The exploratory method was used by understanding that an analysis involving planning, creation, and assessment was the primary aim of planning and development research. All respondents in this study had agreed to participate and signed the consent form.

Based on the initial information collected through the DGF, as presented in Table 2 , it was agreed that in the selection of a new model of sports tourism to increase tourist visits, the sport of triathlon would be modified with the sports heritage of the Gayo tribe. This new sport, named “Run H2O Ride”, combines running, swimming, and horse riding. In addition, rules, regulations, routes, and mileage were adjusted based on the needs analysis of travelers, particularly to accommodate family-oriented segments. Previously known sports tourism events centered around activities like marathons and triathlons ( 137 – 139 ). These triathlons generally involve swimming, cycling, and running ( 112 , 140 ) with stringent race rules and regulations ( 141 – 146 ) that can exclude many tourists from participating.

Table 2 Discussion group forum.

A literature review was done to develop an effective product design. Industry requirements and the results of the literature review were used to create products. All development concepts went through the research stages specified in the research methodology. Subsequently, the product was validated by experts using a Likert scale with four ratings ( 147 ) as presented in Table 3 . Four experts participated in the expert validation product assessment, which was conducted using descriptive statistical analysis. The results of the assessment are as follows ( Figure 2 ).

Table 3 Qualification assessment of the “Run H2O Ride” rubric by experts.

Figure 2 Expert assessment.

Expert 1 is an expert in measurement and evaluation tests from academics. These lecturers gave an average score on product validation of 93.75 by providing input regarding horse racing facilities and infrastructure. Expert 2 is a tourism marketing management expert from the Central Aceh Regency Culture and Tourism Office who also directly conducted field trials with an average value of 91.66 and provided input for the route so that the audience could watch the entire race in one area and not far from each other. Expert 3 is a recreational sports expert from the Youth and Sports Office, Central Aceh Regency, who participated in the field trial with an average score of 89.58. Expert 4 is an expert in the sport of Triathlon from Aceh Province and provided input on the route and mileage of the predetermined “Run H2O Ride” development model, giving an average score of 93.75. The product was revised after experts validated the new model of sports tourism, “Run H2O Ride”. The end product of a new sports tourism model, “Run H2O Ride”, includes team and individual race categories, selection of paths taken, distance from running, swimming, and horse-riding categories, and strategic locations in organizing events. This can be seen in Figure 3 .

Figure 3 Final product “Run H2O Ride” in Central Aceh District.

Then, 20 respondents carried out external validation of the research data. Based on the validity of the instrument test using the moment product correlation test, it was found that the r count ranged from 0.272–0.503, the calculated R-value when compared to the 5% significant level r table, which is 0.254, then the calculated R-value was greater than the r table so the instrument was said to be valid and could be used to assess research products. The reliability of the study was measured directly using the Cronbach alpha reliability test ( Table 4 ). Cronbach's alpha value for expected social impact factor was recorded to be above the recommended 0.70 threshold ( 148 , 149 ).

Table 4 Reliability statistics.

4.1 The effectiveness of the new model of sports tourism “Run H2O Ride”

Then, three main tests were conducted: limited product test, main product test, and operational product test, to help determine the suitability and effectiveness of this new sports tourism model, which can be seen in Table 5 . To assess the suitability and effectiveness of this new sports tourism model, we began the research with a sample size of 15 respondents. Subsequently, three main tests were carried out: product testing was limited to the “Run H2O Ride” product. The public response to the model was rated 33.3% good, 40% enough, and 26.7% less, as shown in Figure 4 . The assessment results of the quantitative analysis study show that the sports tourism model product “Run H2O Ride” must be furnished with guidelines for implementation in the form of race regulations. Improving research products should also involve participation from local communities and tourists.

Table 5 Public response to the new model of sports tourism “Run H2O Ride”.

Figure 4 Scores of limited product test “Run H2O Ride”.

The main product trial phase was conducted with 30 respondents. The public response to the model was rated 73.3% very good, 20% good, and 6.7% enough, as shown in Figure 5 . The assessment results of the quantitative analysis study show that the sports tourism model product “Run H2O Ride” needs to be equipped with a high level of safety for race participants, such as ambulance vehicles and first aid stations. In addition, it is necessary to create a stand for visitors to watch the game and a rest area for participants.

Figure 5 Scores of main product test “Run H2O Ride”.

The operational product test was the last stage and it had 60 respondents. The public response to the model was rated 86.6% very good, 11.7% good, and 1.7% enough, as shown in Figure 6 . The assessment results of the quantitative analysis study show that the new sports tourism model product “Run H2O Ride” has been declared very good and is ready to be used in the implementation of the “Tour Delut Tawar” event in the next implementation. The analysis results indicate that the sports tourism model product ‘Run H2O Ride’ in Central Aceh Regency is compatible with the intended product and is effective for its intended use. In addition, it fulfills the research objectives.

Figure 6 Scores of operational product test “Run H2O Ride”.

5 Discussion

The findings show that the new sports tourism model combined with the local community sports heritage in terms of suitability and effectiveness is very good for influencing the decision of prospective tourists to visit an area that has many natural tourism destinations. Every region of Indonesia has its own cultural traditions and natural resources, giving the country its unique beauty and attracting tourists from around the world ( 150 ). This location's primary tourist attractions are its diverse natural and cultural attractions ( 151 , 152 ). The presence of sports heritage in the sports tourism industry serves as a strategic step to highlight a region's unique characteristics. The success of sports tourism activities is associated with sports heritage and getting support from local communities; hence, local governments must consider community participation in these activities ( 153 ). Giango et al. ( 11 ) state that sports tourism is widely regarded as an essential form of tourism that draws tourists, improves the local economy, and promotes culture. Thus, the community is very important in tourism development and planning ( 154 , 155 ). For the Gayo tribe, horse riding is a characteristic of the local people because of the history and geography of this area, which is in the mountains, so horses became a means of transportation for the community.

In addition, the region has a combination of mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, and beaches, creating a diverse and fascinating natural beauty to explore. The attractiveness of natural resources in a tourist area location is the most important factor creating a sense of interest for visitors to visit tourist sites to carry out sports tourism activities ( 151 , 156 ). Meanwhile, Su et al. ( 157 ) emphasize that triathlon sports are very good to be held in a place with many natural attractions. Based on this, one way to increase tourist visits is by combining sports heritage with triathlon sports. The result of this combination created a new sports tourism product: running, swimming, and horse riding. Thus, the targets and results of organizing the upcoming “Tour Delut Tawar” event are hoped to be achieved.

No less important is to provide a sense of security and comfort for visitors who come, by creating a good image for the area. Risk perception greatly influences a traveler's decision to travel somewhere ( 158 , 159 ). Risk perception of a particular country, especially in the context of destination image studies ( 160 ), is significant. It is generally believed that factors influencing the return visit are destination image, quality, perceived destination value, and high satisfaction ( 161 – 164 ) thus leading to positive word of mouth (WOM) and customer return visits, which in turn can affect the economic growth of local communities in the tourism industry ( 165 ). In addition, the target of the long-term development plan of Aceh Province 2023–2027 can be realized by creating new sports tourism products.

6 Conclusions

The new sports tourism model named “Run H2O Ride” is an excellent strategy for sustainable tourism as an initial illustration for new regions in Indonesia in terms of organizing sports tourism events. This new product's success depends on the local government's role in implementing local regulations by embracing local communities in tourism development. In the future, organizing events with models like this will likely be successful, where the synergy between local governments, entrepreneurs, and the community will be based on them having the same view on building tourism so that tourists will be well received and feel welcomed. This positive impact allows tourists to blend in with the community, share traditions, cultures, and lifestyles, and integrate natural charm into their activities.

The results of this study can still be refined with further research based on the limitations of this study; future research can examine more deeply the rules and regulations that are standard for this new sports tourism model, which needs to be done. The research will contribute to providing information on whether this product can be used for the competitive purpose of achieving success for elite athletes. In addition, research related to this model can also be modified with sports heritage in other areas. The implementation of future research can develop tourism promotion products based on modern technology, such as virtual tour reality, which is recommended as an empirical tool that positively impacts tourists’ decisions to visit and participate in the events held. Therefore, the development of new sports tourism products must be an issue that is studied and paid attention to constantly by practitioners and researchers so that sustainable tourism in Indonesia can be implemented evenly in each region.

6.1 Theoretical and practical implications

The results of the study have theoretical and practical implications. This research fills the gap in the literature regarding the implementation of sports tourism events for new regions that want to promote tourism through sports tourism activities. Our findings show that a new sports tourism event we named “Run H2O Ride” can play a significant role in attracting visitors, admittedly providing a new foundation for sustainable tourism theory. Furthermore, practical implications include alternative solutions to address problems that can be implemented to increase tourist visits, with the local governments encouraged to prioritize the characteristics or uniqueness of the sports heritage of the local community. One approach is adopting the sports tourism model “Run H2O Ride,” which is proven to have a positive impact on the current interest in tourist behavior in visiting new places. In addition, we recommend that the local government of Central Aceh Regency, in this case, the Youth and Sports Office and the Tourism Office, make policies for the implementation of future sports tourism events and create a “Run H2O Ride” event. Concomitantly, it can help realize the Aceh Provincial Government's Long-Term Development Plan 2023–2027.

Data availability statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/ Supplementary Material , further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

Ethics statement

All respondents in this study had agreed to participate and signed the consent form.

Author contributions

YR: Conceptualization, Formal Analysis, Writing – original draft. HS: Conceptualization, Formal Analysis, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. MH: Conceptualization, Data curation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. TH: Data curation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing.

The authors declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

This work was funded in part by the Higher Education Financing Agency (BPPT) under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, as well as the Indonesian Education Endowment Fund (LPDP).


The authors acknowledge the Local Government of Central Aceh Regency and related agencies. The authors also thank the tourist visitors who participated in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Supplementary material

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at:

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Keywords: new model, sports tourism, increase tourist visits, Central Aceh, Indonesia

Citation: Rangkuti YA, Setyawati H, Hartono M and Hidayah T (2024) New model of sports tourism with sustainable tourism development to increase tourist arrivals in Central Aceh Regency, Indonesia. Front. Sports Act. Living 6 :1421363. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2024.1421363

Received: 22 April 2024; Accepted: 24 June 2024; Published: 11 July 2024.

Reviewed by:

© 2024 Rangkuti, Setyawati, Hartono and Hidayah. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Heny Setyawati, [email protected]

Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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How aqua expeditions ceo built a luxury tourism brand on waters less explored.

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Aqua Blu is transforming luxury expedition yachting in Indonesia

If you want to inspire Aqua Expeditions CEO and Founder Francesco Galli Zugaro, don’t tell him he’s brilliant, even though he is. Tell him he’s crazy. Tell him his ambitions are impossible. And then sit back and watch the magic happen. Galli Zugaro is a man who thrives on turning challenge into opportunity. The Italian-American has built a business operating luxury river cruises and yacht charters in some of the most complex destinations in the world – the Peruvian Amazon, the Vietnamese Mekong, the remotest Indonesian islands – onboard yachts he has had specially built.

Since founding Aqua Expeditions in 2007, Galli Zugaro has created several game-changing travel propositions for “affluent explorers” and been commended for feats including launching Peru's first luxury river cruise on the Amazon River, transforming luxury expedition yachting in Indonesia with Aqua Blu , and taking the first commercial superyacht ( Aqua Mare ) to the Galapagos. And with a fleet of six boats and counting, he’s not done yet.

As Aqua Expeditions prepares to announce its next project, we take a deep dive into Galli Zugaro’s greatest passions, chart his journey to success, and unveil the next steps of his master plan – which may soon be open to strategic investment.

Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO of Aqua Expeditions

Where did your passion for travel stem from?

Francesco Galli Zugaro: Growing up in 16 countries put the travel bug in me. My dad was Managing Director for Latin America for Alitalia – it was in his blood to travel and this passed down to me. When my parents divorced, I started living with my mom and my stepdad; he was Bureau Chief for TIME magazine in many countries so we moved around from Germany to Lebanon to Israel to Cyprus to Italy, and so forth. After later graduating from Boston, I started working with a private equity group in South America that was investing in telecom and tourism. I ran the telecom startup for five years and then moved over to a small ship expedition investment that we made in the Galapagos. That was how I cut my teeth in travel.

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What lead you to leave the private equity group and set up Aqua Expeditions ?

Having left Ecuador and the investment there that we exited, I started looking around South America. Originally, I wanted to go to Argentina. There was an American gentleman called Douglas Tompkins who owned North Face and invested in buying up cattle ranches so I thought, ‘let's head out there’. On the way, I stopped at Iquitos and the Peruvian Amazon and I realise no one was doing the Amazon at a really high-end level’.

I went around Iquitos with a Peruvian Navy Admiral who told me there was a 50-metre steel hull for sale around one of the tributaries. So, we took one of the Navy’s little tugboats and knocked on the shed and this guy sold it to me – I towed it away that day. I then commissioned a shipyard to obviously build it for me and brought in Jordi Puig, a very well-known Peruvian architect at the time. From buying it to launching it with heads and beds took us eight months. I don't claim to be the first, but I was the first at the top-end level catering to what I call today ‘affluent explorers’.

Onboard Aqua Blu in Indonesia

Why did you pick South America to launch the business?

I picked South America because I knew it. At the time, the hottest package in South America was Machu Picchu and Galapagos. Compared to Ecuador at the time, the potential growth in Peru was amazing. Orient Express had come in and has five properties and three trains so they were pumping money into promoting the destination. So, I thought, all I have to do is plug a great product in the Peruvian Amazon and it's automatically going to be packaged up into the circuit of Peru at the time. It was very easy to quickly position a top end premium product. So I sold my house in Ecuador, moved my whole family to Peru and put everything into it. It was a risk, but I have a healthy measured appetite for risk.

Why did you decide to build a boat-focused business rather than enter the hotel market?

Having operated in the Galapagos, I thought how cool is it that you can control the guest experience? To really curate a guest experience in a one-night stay in a hotel is very difficult – you can't really make an impact. With the whole yachting experience cruising experience, you can curate something and create really cool environment for guests.

From a business perspective, these businesses are very cash rich because you can have high cash flow because people are booking ahead of time, with very few cancellations because these are long-haul aspirational trips. So, this has always been an appealing a both experiential and business opportunity.

Service and hospitality is key onboard all of Aqua Expeditions' boats

Why did you decide to build 12-cabin boats, and do you have plans to create larger ships?

I wanted something small. Originally the concept was to copy the idea of houseboats from Kerala put them on Amazon. I said ‘let's do four ships with two smaller cabins’, but when I ran the numbers, it wasn't scalable – the more you grow, the more fixed costs you have. Whereas on a 12-cabin ship, you can have 24 guests, but the economies of scale, as soon as you break even, become super attractive because our variable costs are very low. The only variable costs are the additional food and additional guides; the fuel and the operation are still fixed.

Secondly, the guest experience has to be dictated by small groups. These are trips with a high level of engagement to the the connection with the guides is key. We will never do anything that's above four couples to a guide – that allows you really to have an opportunity to engage, and the guide can tailor the excursions to that group. You can’t accomplish something so unique with a 100-guest ship.

Francesco Galli Zugaro in front of luxury river boat Aqua Mekong

How many of your ships are private charters versus tour operator bookings?

About a quarter of our business is private charter. Today, all of our ships operate 48 weeks. We have 30% charters, so about 15 charters a year, and most of them are private, but a lot of them are tour operator buyouts. So, in other words, a client comes in, buys out the ship for the week, and then resells it under their brand, because they package that up with a week in Siem Reap or Ho Chi Minh.

On private charters, what happens a lot is that we have two principal clients paying and it was hard for them to figure out who gets that top owner suite. So, in our river ships we have three suites which are very similar and very large. We've done that on all the ships, and that's allowed us to appeal very well to a private charter client.

Why did you choose to focus your business on areas that are more complex than others?

I just like the challenge. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I’ve been told many times ‘no it’s impossible, or no, you’re crazy,’ and then I showcase that it can be done. It just requires a vision and the capacity to execute. What initially started off as a vision is today a realization of 300 talented individuals that are working with me, from crew to management. I like a challenge; I don't like to take the easy way out. My biggest enjoyment comes from seeing guests appreciate what we've done.

Aqua Blu is redefining luxury expedition cruising in Indonesia . What lead you to operate in this destination?

I liked Indonesia you still feel like you're exploring. Galapagos in comparison is very structured. It's an amazing guest experience, but it's very regimented. In Indonesia, you can go exploring to see volcanoes, find dragons and birds-of-paradise, sail around Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands, and see what nature throws at you. That excites me, even though it's very difficult to get the permits. It look me two years to get the permits to flag in Indonesia, but I want to bring guests to see these parts of the world that are logistically complicated, and do it at a very high level.

What are your guests looking for, and how do you match destinations to meet their expectations?

If you talk to our guests, they've done everything. They're looking for something cool, different and relaxed. They want the world-class service but they're not pretentious so they're willing to walk barefoot and let their hair down. And a destination has to check their boxes in terms of nature and wildlife.

I chose the Vietnamese Mekong because it’s an iconic river connected to two iconic World Heritage sights – Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. And then I decided to operate in three marine biosphere reserves – Galapagos, Raja Ampat and Komodo – which are on everybody's bucket list. The next destinations will have a combination of that; they'll have either iconic rivers of the world or iconic coastal cruising that will provide a wildlife and nature component, and sometimes even a cultural component.

Private beach sundowners at Komodo National Park

What are your long-term plans for the company?

I've got a very clear map of exactly where I'm going to put ships. Pretty much true to form, I've delivered one every three years. Next year will be my 18th year and I'll be delivering my sixth ship. The details of where how and where will be revealed later this year. I've scouted the destinations and built itineraries – that's what I do on my off-time; I spend weeks and months scouting different bodies of water all over the world. That's my passion; finding new logistically complex destinations that I think I could venture into; raising the capital to finance the ships, because these are getting more and more expensive; and building unique itineraries.

What opportunities are there for interested investors?

This is a very profitable business because of our fixed costs. As long as you break even, profit could be in the range of somewhere around 50%. This year we’re going to exceed our forecast and forward bookings for 2025 are very strong already.

From an investor point of view, I've obviously retained control of the business and continue to do so. It doesn't mean that that will continue to be the case in the future. I'm open minded to see if I can add value strategically from a strategic partner – I have access to capital, but that strategic capital is something that I'm looking for in the future so that I can strategically roll out my business faster, and maybe have an opportunity to bring passenger flow to us faster, rather than organically growing.

There aren’t that many Aquas around. We’re the only business that has this size, this niche, this reach. The day Aqua goes out to market to find that strategic partner, I think it’s going to attract a lot of eyes that want to get into that space.

Rachel Ingram

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We hear it all the time from our visitors: "It's so beautiful and green here!" But in Vancouver, green is more than just a flattering colour. It's a steadfast commitment to sustainability.

Vancouver already has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any major North American city, and we're a recognized leader in green building and sustainable planning. Vancouver is a innovation member of the C40 Alliance of cities. In 2012 Vancouver launched an extensive community engagement process and created an ambitious Greenest City Action plan in 2012 to be the greenest city in the world by 2020. Important accomplishments included: over 50% of all trips in the city being by walking, cycling or public transit, reducing carbon emissions intensity for new buildings by 43% and reducing annual solid waste to landfill by 32%.

Not resting on its laurels, Vancouver is taking climate change seriously and in 2019 declared a climate emergency and on November 17, 2020, City Council approved the Climate Emergency Action Plan . This puts Vancouver on an accelerated track to ensure we reduce our carbon pollution by 50% by 2030, in alignment with the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Vancouver is also a member of Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and reports its progress regularly.

What does this mean for the visitor for Vancouver? Destination Vancouver, with our Membership of more than 800 businesses and organizations has sought to build a sustainable and resilient industry that provides unforgettable experiences while contributing to the stewardship and renewal of our natural environment and social wellbeing in our host communities. This means careful planning and engagement with environmental & community organizations, government and economic development agencies to seek ways to make Vancouver the most welcoming city. Where visitors understand how their visit is contributing to a lighter environmental footprint and a positive social impact. We hope that through our collective respect for the environment and host communities, visitors will be inspired, and this will foster a desire to return and deepen your relationship with our city and its people.

To learn more about how Destination Vancouver is going about creating a more sustainable and resilient tourism destination please check out our 2024 Sustainable Goals and Impact Initiatives . These initiatives are informed by our participation in the Global Destination Sustainability Index . The index is designed for community destination management organizations who seek a structured & accountable way to drive impact in their communities. It is a process that leverages third-party evaluation of best practices in four core areas: Environmental, Social, Supplier and Destination Management practice.  Participation in the Global Destination Sustainability Index also creates opportunities to foster collaborative dialogue with over one hundred other cities around the world who are aligned with a shared purpose increase the long-term positive impact and resilience of tourism and events in our communities.

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  1. Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

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  2. Vancouver's Tourism Master Plan Revealed

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  3. Welcome to the Vancouver Plan!

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  4. Mapas Detallados de Vancouver para Descargar Gratis e Imprimir

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  5. Vancouver Tourism Master Plan

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  1. Vancouver, BC's Tourism Master Plan

    The Vancouver Tourism Master Plan (TMP) follows the Rethink Vancouver visioning process conducted in 2011 which recommended seven actions be taken by Destination Vancouver, including the creation by Destination Vancouver and the City of Vancouver of a Tourism Master Plan. Furthermore, this TMP has been designed to build on the four key pillars ...

  2. Vancouver Tourism 2030

    Tourism 2030. It's said that the best way to anticipate the future is to invent it, and Destination Vancouver set about in 2017 to create hypotheses of the future of tourism in 2030—a future just close enough that we can almost see it, and just far enough away to invite imagination as well as extrapolation of the data. In late 2017 ...

  3. PDF Vancouver Tourism Master Plan Final July31.indd

    The Vancouver community will recognize the importance of the tourism industry and actively help to provide unique experiences to our visitors. This Tourism Master Plan is intended to close the gap between the demand side of the equation (Tourism Vancouver) and the supply side (policy makers at the City, Province and Federal Government).

  4. Vancouver Destination Planning

    The Vancouver Tourism Master Plan (TMP) followed Rethink Vancouver's visioning process and started community consultation in 2012 and was completed in 2013. In 2017, Destination Vancouver started planning once again with a different approach to complement the TMP.

  5. PDF Metro Vancouver Destination Development Strategy

    Thank you to Tourism Vancouver in their efforts preceding and during this process to develop and action the Tourism Vancouver 2030 Draft Scenario Report that provided significant input and direction of this plan. Thank you to our tourism partners who participated in the process by attending planning workshops, conducting

  6. Vancouver's Tourism Master Plan Revealed

    More than 300 members of the Vancouver's $2.7 billion tourism industry gathered at the Vancouver Playhouse yesterday to hear an overview of city's first ever Tourism Master Plan at Tourism Vancouver 's 110th annual general meeting. The concept of the plan, led by Resonance Consultancy and a combined effort by Tourism Vancouver, the City ...

  7. Vancouver Tourism Master Plan Revealed

    Dec 19 2017, 7:42 am. An overview of Vancouver's first ever Tourism Master Plan was debuted yesterday by Mayor Gregor Robertson, Tourism Vancouver board chair R. Gordon Johnson and president and CEO Rick Antonson at Tourism Vancouver's 110th annual general meeting. The AGM took place at the Vancouver Playhouse and was attended by more than ...

  8. Tourism development in Vancouver, Coast & Mountains grows with

    As part of StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan, the province's six tourism regions have received a total of $13.6 million to create employment opportunities, attract new businesses and increase economic diversification within communities. The Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative is one of three infrastructure investment programs for ...

  9. Vancouver Tourism Master Plan on Vimeo

    In the video, Tourism Vancouver President and CEO Rick Antonson and Resonance Consultancy's Richard Cutting-Miller each explain the purpose of a tourism master plan and its importance to the growth of tourism in the city. Upload, livestream, and create your own videos, all in HD. This video defines a Tourism Master Plan and explains how it can ...

  10. PDF Tourism Vancouver 2030 Draft Scenario Report

    raight line projection) by the end of 2030. However, the current economic climate presents downside risks, where total world visits is only forecast to grow t. 13.4 million visitors to Vancouver by 2030. Thus, the 2030 Visitor Forecast is about 658,348 visitors (4.

  11. PDF To provide a policy and planning framework so

    Transportation. Incorporate the needs of visitors into Vancouver's public and private transportation system. Align advocacy interests of the partners for the benefit of visitors and residents. Formalize an ongoing group of the partners to oversee tourism master plan actions, with progress reports to industry and residents.

  12. Tourism Vancouver's CEO on Steering The Future of Urban Travel

    The master plan is presently being updated with a new Vancouver 2030 strategy report developed in partnership with Resonance Consultancy and Tourism Economics. Due out this summer, the new policy ...

  13. Destination Vancouver Corporate Documents

    Plans and Reports are published to inform the public of our organization's objectives and progress in delivering on Destination Vancouver's mission. 2022 Business Sprint. Click to download 2021 Business Sprint Plans. Vancouver Tourism Master Plan - Background Reports. Tourism 2030 Report - Background

  14. Vancouver Tourism Master Plan Survey

    March 26, 2013. Vancouver's first-ever Tourism Master Plan will identify, innovate and articulate potential products, amenities, programming and experiences - along with corresponding policies and protocols - that will guide the long-term, sustainable planning and design of Vancouver and its neighbourhoods as tourism destinations.

  15. Vancouver Tourism Master Plan on Vimeo

    This video with Tourism Vancouver CEO Rick Antonson and former Resonance Consultancy Executive Vice-President Richard Cutting-Miller provides an overview of how a Tourism Master Plan can be used to identify and articulate potential products, amenities, programming and experiences - along with corresponding policies and protocols - to shape ...

  16. Vancouverites Invited to Participate in City's First-Ever Tourism

    Development of Vancouver's first-ever Tourism Master Plan is well underway, and Vancouver residents are being asked to share their opinions and ideas for the future of tourism in the city via a short survey

  17. Chapter 2. Transportation

    Vancouver's Tourism Master Plan acknowledges the importance of transportation infrastructure to the tourism industry. Priorities for future development by the city include (Tourism Vancouver, 2013): Improving accessibility for people with disabilities; Creating a transit loop between downtown attractions; Supporting ferries in False Creek


    An overview of Vancouver's first-ever Tourism Master Plan was recently introduced by Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and Tourism Vancouver CEO Rick Antonson, at Tourism Vancouver's AGM. The master plan will guide the development of the city's tourism industry and will analyze gaps, identify opportunities and establish priorities to ensure continued growth, economically and sustainably ...

  19. Tourism Master Plan for Vancouver

    Tourism Vancouver will work with the city and Vancouver has its first ever tourism master plan, developed by Resonance Consultancy, and set to align city and industry interests over a 10-year period.

  20. Vancouver BC Travel, Vacations & Hotels

    About Us. Destination Vancouver is the non-profit, member-led destination management organization for the spectacular city of Vancouver, BC. Our purpose is to transform our communities and our visitors through the power of travel and to be thoughtful leaders, advocates and ambassadors for our city. We work with our 800+ members and our partners ...

  21. Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island and Coast Region

    61 Hiking Tourism Master Plan Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast Promising Practices The Cape Scott Park trail systems represented by the capescottpark. com website, presents a regional example of some best practices in marketing activities which encompass many of the key attributes of our 'path to purchase marketing ...

  22. PDF STAFF REPORTS / PRESENTATIONS Park Board 2023-2026 Capital Plan Mid

    Title: Park Board Meeting Highlights: 2024 JUL 08 Author: Park Board GM's Office Subject: 08-3000-20 Board Meeting records Keywords: Hillcrest Summer Festival, International Day of Yoga, Fleurs de Villes ARTISTE, Puglia Tourism & Design, Tatlow Park, Symphony at Sunset, Sunset Community Centre, Kitsilano Showboat, 2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, "Accessibility Strategy, Emergency Management and ...

  23. Vancouver Destination Development

    Vancouver Destination Development is the strategic and continuous planning, collaboration and development of amenities, facilities, products, services, policies and initiatives that will support Vancouver to deliver exceptional experiences for visitors, while enhancing residents' quality of life and well-being. ... Vancouver Tourism Master ...

  24. Frontiers

    2.2 Indonesia's sports tourism potential and master plan. The development of the tourism industry is one of the strategic steps that can be taken to support the National Sports Grand Design (DBON) program. ... program. This design is a master plan that outlines the national sports coaching and development policies' specific directions to be ...

  25. How Aqua Expeditions CEO Built A Luxury Tourism Brand On ...

    As Aqua Expeditions prepares to announce its next project, we take a deep dive into Galli Zugaro's greatest passions, chart his journey to success, and unveil the next steps of his master plan ...

  26. Vancouver Sustainable Tourism

    Looking forward Vancouver is taking climate change seriously and in 2019 declared a climate emergency and on November 17, 2020, City Council approved the Climate Emergency Action Plan. This puts Vancouver on track to reduce our carbon pollution by 50% by 2030, in alignment with the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on ...