Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre

Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and BC Forest Museum

Sources of Funding
ICET:$666,500
Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce:$400,000
Municipality of North Cowichan:$325,000
Municipality of North Cowichan Tourism Grant:$115,000
Cowichan Valley Regional District:$293,000
Cowichan Valley Regional District Gas Tax:$150,000
City of Duncan:$50,000
Total Budget: $1,999,500
Quick Facts: 

In the first quarter of operations, visits increased by 140%, with peak season visits increasing by over 80%.

Tourism is an integral part of the Cowichan Valley’s economy, however, the existing Visitor Information Centre was small, outdated and not well located or visible to the traveling public. 

Studies have shown that interaction with Visitor Centre staff has positive impacts on length of stay, likelihood of return visits, and total visitor spending in a region.  Consequently, the Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce combined forces with the BC Forest Museum to construct a new Regional Visitor Information Centre at the main parking lot of the BC Forest Discovery Centre.

The project included the construction of a new 3100 square foot facility includes Visitor Information counter and information displays, themed interpretive displays to highlight the area’s attractions, and space for special events. The outdoor area has been configured as a meeting space, providing comfortable and attractive amenities for roadside stops as a well as functional new access road and parking. 

The Cowichan Valley’s tourism profile has climbed as a result of having a showcase facility in a prime location. The Centre is the first Visitor Centre that visitors encounter once they leave the Nanaimo ferry travelling south as well as for visitors leaving the Swartz Bay ferry and bypassing downtown Victoria. In the first quarter of operations, visits increased by 140%, with peak season visits increasing by over 80%.  The centre has seen a large increase in booking made on site, with over 300 individual bookings for camping, accommodations, dining and attractions, many of these inspired by the interpretive displays showcasing the many activities available in the region.  Tourism in the region has increased and businesses have seen additional revenue from the exposure with more people expected to return. 

2,580
person years employment created (construction phase)
50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together
$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated
2,615
post completion jobs created
$4.7
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested
$278
million leveraged into the region
$47.9
million disbursed
$49.7
million committed
170
economic development projects
130
projects completed
38%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities
50+
communities with ICET projects

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