HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO                                Tourism Coordinator Jolie White hosted the industry event at the Kwa’lilas Hotel in Port Hardy.

HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO Tourism Coordinator Jolie White hosted the industry event at the Kwa’lilas Hotel in Port Hardy.

2018 tourism season kicks off with industry mixer

Tourism operators from all over the region were in attendance

The 2018 Vancouver Island North Tourism season has officially launched.

Each spring Vancouver Island North Tourism hosts a stakeholder event that offers an educational session and the opportunity for local tourism operators to do some networking.

The May 3 event, which was free to attend, was held at the Kwa’lilas Hotel in Port Hardy.

Tourism operators from all over the North Island were in attendance, including a few students from North Island College’s Tourism and Hospitality program.

Jolie White, Tourism Coordinator for Vancouver Island North Tourism, began the event with an industry update, where she explained how Vancouver Island North is marketed as a destination.

“The two main organizations we are really connected with are tourism Vancouver Island and we also work closely with Destination BC, which is the provincial tourism organization.” White added that “we have been working with them on the destination development plan, which is a plan to guide the long-term growth, and it has been really community driven.”

Tourism Vancouver Island’s Social Media and Content Specialist, Hannah Smith, then gave a presentation on the changing digital landscape and the best practices for tourism businesses to stay visible online.

“By maintaining a digital presence you can continue to influence all year long,” said Smith, who also spoke about the importance of having an updated website. “It’s the number one spot you need to be at — If you don’t have a website than a lot of other things simply don’t function. It’s typically one of the first spots for people to find you.”

After the presentations, the group enjoyed appies and drinks at the pub for the tourism social portion of the evening. The industry research included in the 2017 Vancouver Island North Visitor Profile is also available to access on www.vancouverislandnorth.ca.