This year’s 2020 Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit is going to be a little different. 

The annual meeting brings businesses, community members and government leaders together to share ideas, ask questions, network, learn about new initiatives, and explore new opportunities. 

Although it will be held virtually thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will still cover a wide range of topics including: 

  • promoting a sustainable and diversified economy for all residents of Vancouver Island economic region;
  • promoting strong communities and First Nations along with careful stewardship of our natural resources;
  • providing regional leadership for regional business attraction, retention and expansion;
  • promoting regional initiatives that strengthen economic capacity;
  • positioning Vancouver Island as an attractive option for business investment; 
  • And fostering regional economic growth and diversification.

Our newsroom had the chance to speak with the President of the VIEA, George Hanson.

He says the 14th annual summit will feature many keynote speakers and cover important topics for Vancouver Island. 

“The program ranges from indigionmics and reconciliation to dealing with issues related to salmon farming, and opportunities for connection to seaweed aquaculture. We’re looking at land use planning, producing more products on Vancouver Island. We have sessions on the pros and cons of going digital, we have a Minister of the Federal Government, who is the minister of economic development. We have a tech humanist out of New York and a whole range of other speakers,” explains Hanson. 

“The whole intention of the summit is to use this grassroots tool as a way of bringing people together from every corner of the island to look at where we are in our economy in our communities and how we can improve”, he adds. 

Hanson says one of the most important things the VIEA will be looking forward to, is taking a peek at Vancouver Island’s 2020 economic report, which will explain how the global pandemic has affected the local economy. 

“We certainly know that tourism and hospitality have been particularly hard hit and there are ripple effects to that. We also know that international education for instance with the limitation of people travelling is going to have a major impact on the colleges and universities and even in the secondary schools throughout the island regions.”

“It goes by sector by sector because some areas have seen dramatic increases because of the need to order online and have deliveries. The service industries that don’t require people to be closely engaged with other people have done well and the hospitality and retail and service industries have been particularly hard hit. “

The three-day summit kicks off Tuesday and will run until Thursday evening. 

It is open to anyone, but you do have to register.

Visit the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s website for more information.