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The Changing Face of Islands' Tourism


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Have you noticed how Airbnb has taken over the world of accommodations?

Having spent a fair bit of time socializing in Victoria lately, I've come to see a new kind of behaviour among potential visitors to the Gulf Islands.

Them: "Hey Christian... we're thinking of going to a Gulf Island for a getaway. What's there to do?"
Me: "Lots! Or even better nothing at all! Or anything in between!"
Them: "Cool, but I checked on Airbnb and there aren't many places to stay."
Me: "What do you mean?"
Them: "Well, there's not much on Airbnb."
Me: "Did you check the Chambre of Commerce site?"
Them: "Yeah, but it's not as useful and we couldn't find what we were looking for quickly. We just assumed that Airbnb had the kind of quirky and inexpensive option we were looking for."

With personal budgets tightened everywhere, our classical ideas of tourism have taken a real beating over the years. A few years ago, people might have ended up visiting the Gulf Islands after a quick consult with a travel agent. People had the spare cash and enough planned vacation time to go through the usual channels, find the usual attractions.

Trouble is, 'usual' is no longer. Instead, people are coming to the Gulf Islands more often because of a personal connection, for a wedding, for a fishing trip with a friend, to visit a friend, or because a friend told them about an event that's being hosted here. The new traveller is often grafted to Facebook before, during and after the trip.

Do you host accommodations in the Gulf Islands? Where do you find your guests are finding out about your offering? And how can we, as a community, better cross sell our complete community experience for visitors this summer?

Active Islands has some workable ideas. Reach out if you're interested.