Volunteers run the Visitor Centre in Sidney. This is the first year the SBIA has taken over operations for Sidney Visitor Services; but in June 2016, 2,237 visitors were served through programming based in Sidney. (Alisa Howlett/News staff)

Tourism on the Peninsula right on track so far

June marks the start of a busy season on the Saanich Peninsula. Now that it’s near the month’s end, here’s a look at how the tourism industry is doing in the area.

Starting with Sidney, the visitor numbers from the local Business Improvement Area Society (SBIA) are looking good. According to Morgan Shaw, visitor experience manager for the SBIA’s tourist services, the Sidney Visitor Services have served 5,661 visitors through a variety of programming since June 1.

  • Sidney Visitor Centre: Located at 2281 Beacon Ave. and open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the official Destination British Columbia visitor centre for the region has welcome 1,590 visitors since the start of June.
  • Ask a Local: The new mobile kiosk located at the waterfront, which operates daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., has assisted 2,369 visitors since its launch.
  • Sidney Visitor Services Delegate program: With visitor services promoting Sidney (serving events in the region including the Town and Greater Victoria) there has been a total of 1,352 international delegates in April and June.
  • Washington State Ferry Visitor Centre: Open daily meeting each ferry arrival, the ferry visitor centre has had a total of 350 visitors this month.

This is the first year the SBIA has taken over operations for Sidney Visitor Services; but in June 2016, 2,237 visitors were served through programming based in Sidney.

“This year we are not surprised to see an increase in numbers given our new Ask a Local program, which is serving over 100-plus visitors daily,” Shaw says, in an email. “I attribute the growth in traffic to the Centre and associated programming to the strategic marketing campaigns of the Sidney BIA.”

Related: Ask a Local about visiting Sidney this summer

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, which held the contract for visitor information services for the Town for years, says according to volunteers at the Patricia Bay Information Centre all tourist activity seems regular compared to previous years, especially now that school is out.

Related: Future of Saanich Peninsula visitor services in air

Here’s a look elsewhere on the Peninsula to one of the most popular tourist destinations, Butchart Gardens.

“Things are basically on track. It’s been pretty consistent with the way things have been in previous years,” says Dave Cowen, CEO. “Now that the schools are out we’ve definitely been seeing it the last couple days.”

Butchart Gardens is open year ‘round. Cowen says this year got off to a bit of a slow start due to the poor winter weather, but things have been picking up since Easter weekend. Last year was their strongest year since 2008, and Cowen says 2017 is expected to be similar.

“There’s good indicators from BC Ferries – they have good car deck numbers, it’s a good year for cruise ships and we’ve noticed since Christmas a lot of cars from all of the Northwest states … the Airport is always a big input into the region and they’ve been busy as well. We also really recognize the importance of the Anacortes ferry,” he says.

With over all visitor numbers on the Peninsula climbing now that schools are out, this is only the start of the tourist season and also just days ahead of Canada 150 festivities, which all services say it expects to see visitor numbers rise after the sesquicentennial.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Emily Carr Quartet to perform in Sooke

Show begins at 7 p.m. at the Sooke Harbour House on Feb. 28

Celebrating the heroic dogs of Saanich past

Cedar Hill exhibit features great dogs of history

Rookie boxer gains new self-confidence

After ten weeks of training ‘Killer’ Gibson is ‘unstoppable’

City grants 10-year tax ‘holiday’ for luxury condo building

$5.4-million tax break will offset Custom House heritage redevelopment

Police still searching for missing Langford teen

Ashley Garland could be using the alias Michelle Adams

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Canucks fold 5-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

That’s a wrap: B.C. Games results after Day 1

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 is in the lead for medals Friday at the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Most Read