Greater Victoria is located in the traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The destination is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and architecture, unique outdoor experiences, amazing food and drink scene and relaxed atmosphere. Greater Victoria also has a rich and diverse history, which is a foundation for many visitor activities. A leisure destination for decades with its famous gardens, serene coastal trails, and friendly residents, more recently Greater Victoria also ranks highly with corporate travellers and delegates to Victoria Conference Centre, as well as for hosting festivals and world-class sporting events.
Certificate number: In process
The present-day region of Greater Victoria has been inhabited by the Lekwungen-speaking Coast Salish peoples for thousands of years. European contact with these peoples was established through Spanish - and later British - exploration in the 1790s. In 1843, the Hudson’s Bay Company erected Fort Victoria as a fur trading post and formed commercial relationships with local First Nations. Demolished in 1864 as the surrounding population grew, the fort occupied the present-day site of downtown Victoria.
For decades regional, provincial, national, and international visitors have flocked to Greater Victoria. Many flagship attractions and accommodations remain from previous decades, such as The Butchart Gardens, Chinatown, British Columbia Parliament Buildings and The Fairmont Empress to name a few.
However, Greater Victoria’s tourism product offering has grown and become more diverse. Victoria has more restaurants per person than any other city in Canada. Local First Nations are creating new visitor experiences and telling their stories. The Victoria Conference Centre is a popular facility to hold a meeting, event, or conference and major sporting events now bring thousands of athletes, coaches, spectators, and volunteers to Greater Victoria every year. This growth was also quantified in recent studies. In 2018, research revealed the economic impact of the Greater Victoria visitor economy was $2.3 billion, employing more than 22,000 people and bringing in $1.4 billion in expenditure annually from four million overnight visitors.
As further alignment with the community’s values developed in recent years, so did the focus on sustainability. For example, Greater Victoria hosts the annual IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference, attracting speakers and delegates from around the world to discuss sustainability in the visitor economy. Destination Greater Victoria has established a Sustainability Committee within its governance structure to provide a forum for members to discuss sustainability ideas and opportunities, as well as achieved a Carbon Neutral designation from leading climate advisory services consultants. These initiatives not only support Destination Greater Victoria’s member businesses and the community they call home but creates a positive, values-focused brand for marketing programs and efforts.
From its early, uneven days in the 19th Century to its position as a stalwart and steward of the community today, the Greater Victoria visitor economy has – and will continue to be – central to Greater Victoria’s identity. Greater Victoria welcomes the world with open arms to its warm, hospitable – and increasingly sustainable – destination.