Campbell River, or Wiwek’am, is located on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, within the traditional territory of the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations, in the Northern Strait of Georgia.
Sitting on the 50th parallel, it’s a city nestled in nature, with five provincial parks bordering the region, and Discovery Passage at its front door. With its mild year-round climate and abundant outdoor activities, Campbell River is an epicentre for exploration—whale watching, bear watching, kayaking, fishing, alpine hiking, skiing and a 25 km looping trail network that seamlessly joins city and nature together, through the forest and along the seashore. Tourism-related businesses support hundreds of fulltime and seasonal employees along with their families, and are significant drivers in the local economy. Interest and growth are expanding, with investments in eco-tourism, Indigenous-led projects, and nature-based experiences attracting niche interest groups and passionate travellers, resulting in an overall increase in visitation year over year.
Tourism in Campbell River continues on a positive trajectory, with visitation numbers up and Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) revenues increasing and reported at $498,622 (Source: MRDT Grant Reconciliation Summary 2019). The industry remains in a period of growth, as reputation and awareness continue to gain traction in key markets. The Campbell River brand is built on the vibrancy of the locals and the natural opportunities that the city offers. Campbell River, “City in the Wild,” has support from local First Nations, developers and business owners who continue to collaborate and cross-promote to build a year-round tourism industry that is expected to grow year over year. Significant opportunities remain to increase room inventory, adventure experiences and value-add products that will strengthen the position of Campbell River as an alluring destination.
The City of Campbell River has embraced—and recognizes the importance of—tourism to the city’s over all economic picture, and the contribution it makes to the lifestyle and services that are available for residents. Campbell River continues to invest in and support business owners by hosting networking events and offering professional development opportunities. The City’s commitment to tourism also means supporting destination marketing activities with committed funding, as well as supporting community festivals, events and a robust Visitor Experiences program in partnership with Destination BC and Destination Campbell River.
Land & Real Estate
- 50+ acres of vacant C-4 commercial land suitable for highway commercial uses and accommodation properties
- 20+ acres of vacant C-5 commercial land, which is waterfront land intended for recreational, tourist or marine oriented uses
(Source: Campbell River Employment Land Strategy)
“We have so much to offer here, for
tourists and residents alike—skiing, biking,
golf, hiking, wildlife tours—we really are
a hidden gem, and we are about to be
discovered in a big way.”
- Laurel Cronk, Island Joy Rides
(Source: Campbell River Employment Land Strategy)
- Campbell River is well-connected to major travel hubs, such as Vancouver and Victoria.
- Campbell River Airport (YBL) has recently undergone major updates and improvements, and is a
designated Port of Entry with 6,500 ft. of runway.
- Major highways connect Campbell River to urban centres south, and rural destinations north and
Lifestyle & Recreation
Campbell River boasts unparalleled access to nature and
the wilderness of BC’s coast. Within 30 minutes of town,
- whale and wildlife viewing
- world-class hiking
- mountain biking
- fresh and saltwater fishing
- kayak tours
- accessible trails
- cold-water diving
- breweries and distilleries
Due to our mild climate, most of these activities are available and enjoyable year-round.
North Island College and nearby institutions offer several programs and courses that support Campbell River’s tourism sector:
Tourism and Hospitality Management
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Adventure Guiding Certificate
Local Business Environment
Campbell River has adopted a progressive and forward thinking approach to tourism in the region. In 2017, the City hired an international Destination Marketing Organization to bring a unified approach to the local industry and refresh Campbell River’s brand story, reputation and strategy. Collaborative consultation within the community has created partnerships and connections with local First Nations, regional communities and stakeholders, resulting in innovation within the tourism sector, with a focus on sustainability, long-term growth and meaningful action.
Tourism on Vancouver Island is far more than an impressive set of facts and figures. This sector alone
generates $2.2 billion annually for the Island’s economy (source: Tourism Vancouver Island), making tourism either first or second on the list of economic drivers for every community in the region.
- In 2019, Campbell River’s hotel occupancy rate was 73.5%, one of the highest on Vancouver Island.
(Source: Destination BC)
- There are 140 Campbell River companies in tourism reliant industries, with up to six new expansions in 2019. (Source: Statistics Canada Business Counts)
- The biggest increase within the sector last year saw an increase in value-add product and new experience product development within existing tourism businesses. (Source: Destination Campbell
River, Stakeholder Assessment)
- 2019 fixed-roof accommodation occupancy and average daily rate slightly exceeded MRDT revenue
projections by 3.05%. (Source: MRDT Grant Reconciliation Summary 2019)
- From an advocacy perspective, Campbell River’s 2018 Tourism Sentiment Score (45) is comparable
to our competitor destinations, and showed an improvement of four points over the same analysis
conducted in 2017. (Source: DestinationX TSI report)
- Campbell River has been experiencing a land/development boom for the past three years.