The combined result of increase earned media generation and event attendance has had dramatic results for Comox Valley visitation. -CVEDS Final Report
In the early 2000s, the Comox Valley had quietly been changing its image, and the agriculture and aquaculture sectors were emerging as economic drivers. However the region remained an unknown entity to potential investors. Marketing to foreign markets requires significant resources, which the community did not have. With the arrival of the 2010 Olympic Games in BC, the community seized on the opportunity to rebrand itself and take advantage of foreign media presence in the region to market its assets and opportunities on the world stage.
Utilizing a series of marketing tools that include tradeshows, print and electronic media and familiarization tours and events, a targeted marketing message was delivered into key geographic markets including China, France and Germany. Leading industry sectors in the Comox Valley, such as travel and tourism, were highlighted. This included attraction initiatives at Beijing 2008 and pre-Vancouver 2010, which resulted in the attraction of international cross country skiing and biathlon teams training at Mount Washington, secured the IPC World Cup event and an Olympic women’s hockey exhibition game. To build capacity locally and to support external marketing messages, a series of workshops were hosted, including human resource planning for companies, as well as Indigenous and agri-tourism certification seminars.
Completed in December 2010, the farm tours, media hosting and pre-Olympic international teams hosting initiatives were hugely successful. There were dozens of farm tours featuring the region’s culinary and agri-tourism attractions including attention from hundreds of agri-media. The presence of international Olympic teams generated more than one million in earned media from 30 media delegations, including seven National Olympic Broadcasters. The pre-2010 Games training in the region generated over a million dollars in direct impact and more than 17 person years of employment in addition to $2.9 million in new legacy infrastructure development.