Room occupancy rates are up in Nanaimo, marking a major turning point for tourism on Vancouver Island, says a Victoria industry analyst.
Hoteliers are reporting record room occupancy rates in Nanaimo, according to the latest monthly report on the industry from Chemistry Consulting Group.
On average, rooms were 78-per-cent occupied in August, up more than three points from a year ago, with Nanaimo's largest hotel, the Coast Bastion, enjoying its best year ever. Other indicators are good also. Ferry passenger volumes and traffic through Nanaimo Airport are both up, and analysts predict a bright future as investors buy up available properties in advance of an expected wave of Chinese tourism.
"We're really starting to see a recovery here," said Chemistry principal Frank Bourree.
He said it's not just happening in Nanaimo, but in Victoria and Vancouver.
This summer was a "positive change" for the industry, said David Rooper, manager of the Coast Bastion, Nanaimo's largest hotel.
"Yes, it was a record year for this hotel, but we had a couple very good groups," Rooper said, referring to business tourism.
If this summer was good, "it's the tip of the iceberg," said Bourree.
He said Chinese tourism developers are on a buying spree.
A local example is an agreement to build a new hotel for the Vancouver Island Conference Centredowntown.
DBellaart @nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4235
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