Profiling How Wide and Deep the Tourism Industry is in our Community

Tourism Week in Canada is a grassroots initiative that brings attention to the economic opportunity available to Canada through travel and tourism. It aligns tourism organizations, businesses and other partners from across the country around a common vision: a tourism sector recognized for its contribution to the Canadian economy.

To celebrate Tourism Week, Tourism Victoria interviewed five successful professionals who you probably didn't know depended on tourism. Here is the first of their stories:

Terri-Lynn Ash, B.C. Transit bus driver

We deal with tourists on a daily basis, and we're often the first contact they have when they get off the cruise ships. So they ask us for bus connections and directions to places they want to see. They'll ask us "where are the best restaurants, the best pubs? What should we see in the four hours we have here?"

We have to know what's going on, on a weekly basis - like, if there's a jazz festival or a concert.

I find that I'm always recognized wherever I go. I went to Mexico, and someone in the airport said: "There's my favorite bus driver!" My husband said, "can't we go anywhere without people knowing you?"

If you're an outgoing driver, people remember you. And, when I'm travelling, I rely on the local transit to get me around, and we also rely on the transit drivers to tell us where to get off, and we arrive at where we're going.

Terri-Lynn Ash, B.C. Transit 

Paul Morawiec, Vice President of Sales, Hillside Printing

We're a printing company that doesn't really deal directly with tourists visiting Victoria. However, even if they don't know it, a lot of visitors are familiar with our products. Among the many jobs we do are the brochures that line the racks down at the Visitor Centre.

When someone picks up one of our brochures, they're deciding how they want to experience Victoria. By doing so they're directly supporting the tourism industry. But, in a small way, they're also supporting our sales team and the folks who do work in our print shop.

It's the same thing for annual reports, menus, door hangers and other products that we produce for a number of hotels and other businesses that deal directly with tourists. Without a doubt, the tourism industry is vital to our business and to the economic health of our community.

Paul Morawiec, Hillside Printing

Teri Hustins, Owner, Oscar & Libby's

Historically, we do about 25 per cent off our annual business in the first 24 days of December. That's what pays our bills for the first couple of months of the following year. Over the summer, we always appreciate when there are a lot of visitors to the city.

For one, the sales we make help us build up our cash flow and allow us to put our best foot forward for the crucial holiday season. But even more than that, we love summer! It gives us a chance to chat with people from outside Victoria and to share stories about favourite businesses and experiences. We are incredibly proud of our city and its unique flavour! Summer is also important for us as it allows us to test new product lines that we are considering for the fourth quarter. A strong visitor season also allows us to have more of our student employees on the sales floor, which in turn frees up myself and my main staff to spend time together working on the big picture vision for the business.

From a personal perspective, when we have a strong summer season, it allows me to escape the store a bit. It gives me time to think creatively about the business and gives me the freedom and flexibility to be active in our downtown community.

As Tourism Victoria members, we have worked diligently to attract those visitors' feet to the street, especially at our Fort Street location. It's a street that traditionally has been a locals' street. Of course, visitors to Victoria crave an authentic experience and that means they want to eat, shop and play where the locals are.

Teri Hustins

Deirdre Campbell, Chief Connector and Fixer with the Tartan Group

Early on, I discovered the link between a healthy tourism-sector and a thriving community. Helping destinations and businesses imagine and develop healthy and sustainable tourism experiences that benefit local communities has been the main focus of my company and my professional career.

Everything I work on, I do it through a tourism-development lens. With some of our clients, the connection to tourism may not be as easily identified - however there is always an impact to the local tourism industry. For example, helping to promote the David Foster Foundation Gala in Winnipeg this year is definitely a positive tourism story for that city.

Promoting work done by UVic's Gustavson School of Business in service management, aboriginal entrepreneurship and sustainability, supports tourism development in B.C.'s northern communities as well as in resort communities like Whistler.

People who aren't familiar with Tartan might see us as a traditional PR/Marketing agency. But we are one that has built our entire business around the growth of the global tourism industry, working in many countries. And our roots are here in Victoria!

Deirdre Campbell 

Joe O'Rourke, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards

Seaspan Victoria Shipyards is known for being able to drydock and repair extremely large vessels - up to 100,000 DWT. We work with the Canadian Navy. We also maintain and repair deep-sea vessels and containerships. And we do construction and repairs on ferries, tugs, fishing vessels and yachts of all sizes. We also execute an average of two cruise docking repair-contracts each year.

Those contracts create a high volume of revenue, and provide direct wages to workers and supplier contracts for businesses over a short-time period. They also create a tourist stream exceeding 1,000 persons who come here to work on the vessel. These workers spend their spare time taking in everything that Greater Victoria has to offer.

Joe O'Rourke, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards 2 

Check back often for more Tourism Week stories throughout the week!