Project Title:

Vancouver Island Trails Strategy Phase 2

Project Organization:

Tourism Vancouver Island

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $30,000
  • Government of BC: $20,000
  • Community and Regional Stakeholders: $10,000
  • Total Budget: $60,000

Project Highlight:

The trail inventory shows that 89%, of the 250 trails inventoried, are covered by insurance.

Surveys show 50 per cent of tourists visiting Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast hike nearby scenic trails during their visit, despite the fact that less than 10 per cent cited visiting trails as a motivating factor for their visit. Part of this success is due to local community investment in trail development that visitors discover upon arrival at their destination. With a comprehensive regional strategic plan and effective tools matching travellers to trails, a larger number of visitors could be exploring the region’s beautiful, scenic outdoor opportunities.

Tourism Vancouver Island has undertaken a three-phase project to create a detailed strategic plan to effectively market, manage, and improve the hiking trails in the region. Phase 1 of the project created an inventory and user-friendly database of the 235 most market-ready trails in the region. With the data collected and evaluated, phase 2 is formulating a strategic plan aligning tourist expectations with the supply of trails here on the Island and Sunshine Coast. The project will coordinate stakeholder groups to develop trail inventory, improve marketing and promotion, create consistent mapping and trail difficulty-rating tools, and match trail type with their appropriate audience.

Hiking is a significant attractor for visitors and entrepreneurs seeking to relocate or launch a business in the region. People desire work-life balance, and with advances in technology like broadband internet, many companies no longer need to be in major metropolitan areas to succeed. Vancouver Island has the potential to be a world-leading hiking destination.This strategy is a premier pilot project with the capacity to be exported within the Province, country and abroad.

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in 2016 through the Capital and Innovation program.