"Vancouver Island is already rated the top island destination in Canada and in the continental US, and providing an integrated trails resource will definitely add to our appeal as a destination." Dave Petryk, Tourism Vancouver Island President and CEO
A 2012 research report indicates that outdoor activities, including hiking, are key motivators for almost half of all likely Vancouver Island tourists. One-third of visitors have gone hiking on their visits, despite the fact that less than 10% cited that as an original motivator. These data demonstrate that there is an opportunity to increase the awareness of Vancouver Island’s hiking trails as an attractor for tourists. Additionally, 81% of Island residents think that access to outdoor recreation is significant factor in ‘quality of life’, which is a driver in attraction of business relocation and investment.
Tourism Vancouver Island has launched a three-phase project that will create an inventory of Vancouver Island’s extensive trails network. The project will also develop and implement a strategy that standardizes difficulty ratings for trails and improves signage and marketing. This project is an innovative approach to building markets and recognition for Vancouver Island and Coast Trails.
Completed in 2015, the first phase of the project involved a very large number of community partners associated with tourism, outdoor recreation, trail building and trail maintenance. ICET has funded a large number of trails projects, and it is a natural “next step” to support the marketing and increased visibility of the hiking trails it has funded, in order to grow the tourism market in the region and in BC.