Visitors love the North Island

Visitors to the North Island are loving it according to a Visitor Experience Survey.

Visitors to the North Island are loving it. That was the clear message derived from a Visitor Experience Survey

that was conducted over 16 weeks last summer by Vancouver Island North Tourism and The Sociable

Scientists Inc.The Visitor Experience Survey, which launched in June, was developed in collaboration with

Vancouver Island North, Campbell River and Comox Valley tourism destination marketing organizations and

supported by Vancouver Island University, involved intercepting visitors while they were in North Island

communities and inviting them to complete an online survey when they returned home.A total of 971 ballots

were received, and 522 surveys were completed.The response rate was 54 per cent. Out of the 522 surveys,

74 were residents and four were minors resulting in 444 useable surveys.The survey provided some details

about the type of people who travelled to the North Island last summer. The North Island was the main

destination for 71 per cent of the visitors.Most visitors (97 per cent) spent at least one night in the VIN region,

while three per cent were here for a day trip only. Port McNeill received the most overnight visitors (41 per

cent); followed by Port Hardy (39 per cent); Telegraph Cove (30 per cent); Alert Bay (20 per cent) and Sointula

(18 per cent).Port Alice and Winter Harbour’s overnight stays were at five per cent, followed by Woss, Mount

Cain, Nimpkish Valley, Coal Harbour, Holberg and Quatsino.While here, the average groupspent $649 per

day. Most of the people who visited came in their own vehicle (66 per cent); followed by recreational vehicles

and rental vehicles which were both at 11 per cent.Visitors were asked to indicate which tourism attractions

they visited during their stay. The most popular attractions were parks and trails (88 per cent), beaches (87 per

cent), local shops/boutiques (69 per cent), and First Nations facilities, cultural centres and/or events (68 per

cent). Visitors were asked to rate the importance of a number of features on a scale from “Not At All Important”

(1) to “Extremely Important” (5). The North Island received an overall satisfaction rating was 4.6 out of 5.There

were slightly more first-time visitors (54 per cent) to the region than repeat visitors (46 per cent).Seventy-eight

per cent of visitors indicated their trip was for leisure; 15 per cent said they were visiting friends and/or relatives;

four per cent said it was for a combination of business and leisure, and three per cent said they were here for

business or work. At the Regional District of Mount Waddington meeting Feb. 16, Vancouver Island North

Tourism Coordinator Joli White explained that the survey used the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to arrive at the

results. NPS is a simple metric that helps organizations monitor the engagement of their customers. It reflects

the likelihood that customers will recommend a product/company/place to friends, family or colleagues.In the

context of the tourism industry, NPS is based on responses to the question, “How likely are you to recommend

(the North Island) as a travel destination to a friend, family member or colleague?” Responses are scored from

0 which means “not at all likely” to 10 which is “extremely likely”. Respondents are divided into three categories:

Detractors (scores of 0 to 6): Unhappy visitors, who are unlikely to tell others to visit and might even damage

the reputation of a destination through negative word of mouth. Passives (scores of 7 or 8) are those who are

marginally satisfied visitors not excited enough to tell others about their travel experience. Finally there are the

Promoters (scores of 9 or 10) who are likely to return and rave about their travel experience.NPS is calculated

by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.Eighty-three per cent of North

Island survey respondents were promoters,five per cent were passives, and 12 per cent were detractors.White

told the Board of Directors the North Island received a NPS score of ‘7’.This was “higher than the provincial

average,” said White. The $17,000 project received 50 per cent of its funding from the Island Coastal Economic

Trust.