Over 30 community organizations and businesses are featured on the website as regional partners.
The west coast of Vancouver Island has a thriving summer tourist season, but shoulder and winter seasons are significantly less busy. To help address this, the region’s communities and Indigenous peoples developed an educational asset inventory, step-by-step strategy and market development plan to grow education tourism on the West Coast. Building on this preliminary collaboration process, also supported by ICET, phase two implemented a regional marketing project.
Led by the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, the project created the assets required to market and promote educational tourism at a regional scale, while building on the recommended market development strategies. This included creation of a highly-visual website to promote educational tourism opportunities; development of marketing tools and resources available to all stakeholders; and a social media marketing campaign. It also included graphic and communications content that builds a strong, unique brand.
The result of this project is the Westcoast NEST (Nature Education Sustainability Transformation) website: westcoastnest.org. To date, the website is home to more than 166 education courses and over 500 advertised events. Early outcomes have resulted in new off-season opportunities for local educators and knowledge holders, while drawing visiting learners into remote Indigenous communities. In addition, the project has strengthened partnerships with local non-profits, small businesses and visiting academic institutions, resulting in new pilot programs with Royal Roads University and the University of Victoria.