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City changing tourism focus to regional, anticipates ‘transitional year’

It’s been a tough year for tourism in Campbell River, despite visitor numbers returning to post-pandemic levels.

Leah Knutson, the city’s economic development and tourism manager, says they were left scrambling after the contractor running the visitor information centre walked away from the contract this fall, without applying for funding for next year.

The visitor info centre was also moved out of the Centennial Building downtown to the Maritime Heritage Centre, because of ongoing concerns with public drug use and homeless camping at the downtown site.

Speaking to the Strathcona Regional District board last week, she says with tourism back in-house at the city, they are looking to change their focus to include the entire region.

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“We’re also re-evaluating and going, OK, what is working, what isn’t working, where can we find true collaboration, and where can we leverage our networks to be able to really support all industries, not just tourism, but economic development as well,” she says.

She says next year will be a transition for local tourism promotion, and they plan to work more closely with nearby communities on regional promotions. A new website is already up and running, at campbellriver.travel

The website is still in development, but highlights communities around Campbell River including Gold River, Tahsis, Sayward and Zeballos, encouraging tourists to visit while using Campbell River as a main hub.

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