Victoria’s mild weather, which can sometimes produce cherry blossoms in February, is just one of the draws for conference bookers looking for places to hold regional or national meetings. Don Denton/BLACK PRESS

EDITORIAL: Conference business helps Victoria economy roll along

Current inter-continental parliamentary meetings speak to broad base of clients

The summer tourist season may be over, but for the organization formerly know as Tourism Victoria, it’s basically business as usual.

Now known as Destination Victoria, a more appropriate name given the number of non-tourist visitors our city receives every year, the organization is already handling bookings for a year or two down the road for conference business.

Evidence of the type of gatherings we are now getting here in Victoria can be seen this week, as parliamentarians from North and South America take part in ParlAmerica’s 15th Plenary Assembly. We’re a natural for government, corporate and professional association business meetings, with our experience as a government town and an up-and-coming tech business hub – not to mention our moderate climate, vibrant downtown and pleasant coastal surroundings.

Destination Victoria took on the role of operating the Victoria Conference Centre a couple of years back, when the City of Victoria realized the city and region would better served by having Tourism Victoria, with its industry connections and full team of visitor experts, looking after it.

The result has been nothing short of amazing, with many local hotels seeing bumps in occupancy rates in the shoulder seasons, and no doubt some restaurants enjoying new business they might not have otherwise seen.

Even some of the more seasonal companies which have benefited from Tourism Victoria’s marketing efforts over the years have begun adjusting their operations to be available for non-summer visitors.

All this extra visitor traffic may have an unintended consequence, with some conference delegates choosing to relocate to our city after seeing the special attributes it offers. While some locals might see that as a negative, helping drive up real estate prices, others will no doubt view it as a positive side benefit of the work Destination Victoria continues to do to keep the city’s economy rolling along.

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