An estimated 12.4 permanent local jobs will be directly and indirectly supported by the new ÉCONOMUSÉE® sites.
Experiential and cultural tourism are on the rise in BC. In the Vancouver Island-Sunshine Coast region, there are a variety of artisanal products and experiences that can benefit from further product development, marketing and outreach. With the creation of Merridale Ciderworks (Cobble Hill) and Hazelwood Herb Farm (Ladysmith), ICET supported the first phase of an ÉCONOMUSÉE® network in the region in 2011/2012.
The ÉCONOMUSÉE® BC Artisans at Work project offers direct support to small artisan businesses by providing them with tools to guide development of their tourism product and transform their workshops into interactive and authentic visitor experiences. In 2014, Phase 2 was launched, adding 7 additional sites to the first 2 pilot sites, developing a cluster of sites and viable network. The funding assisted with site development and interpretation, as well as support marketing and publicity campaigns and media outreach strategies.
Completed in March 2018, the ÉCONOMUSÉE® BC Artisans at Work project has expanded the network to include a wide range of artisans. New ÉCONOMUSÉE® sites completed to date include: Mary Fox Pottery (Ladysmith), Tofino Cedar Furniture (Tofino), Wayward Distillation House (Courtenay), Townsite Brewery (Powell River) and Folki Herbs (Duncan). Benefits of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® network model include longer stays for tourists, more local spending and a deeper understanding of a region — all of which lead to return visits and positive word-of-mouth. Estimated impacts for the second phase of this project include 12.4 permanent local jobs, directly and indirectly supported by the new ÉCONOMUSÉE® sites.