Initiatives & Success Stories

Together with extensive partner business & industry organizations, plus municipal, provincial and federal government collaboration, Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS) undertakes and offers a range of services, programs and engagement opportunities to support and enhance businesses within the region. Current programs and recent successes include:

 

Economic Development

Google My Business Program

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In 2019 CVEDS became a Google Trusted Verifier DMO Partner, to help support regional businesses to be digital ready and visible across key online search engines like Google and TripAdvisor. This FREE Google My Business Verification Program supports businesses to help verify/optimize their Google My Business listing, which includes a site visit to the business to take 360 degree photos and upload them to the businesses Google My Business Listing. By verifying and editing this information, businesses can ensure their customers can find them and they can share the story of their business, thereby increasing awareness and business activity.

For more information, or to book an appointment, contact the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre visitorcentre@discovercomoxvalley.com or call 250-400-2882.

The Google My Business Program is a component of the Business Retention and Enhancement priority projects in 2019, to help improve the online presence and activities of area small businesses.

Online Tech Database Tool Development

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As the world’s tech industry grows and becomes more mobile, so does the ability for innovating businesses to choose for where they live and work. The Online Tech Database was developed to showcase the range of opportunities for tech and innovator businesses and individuals.

CVEDS partnered with the Innovation Island Technology Association to complete Database project to highlight businesses in the Tech Sector and profile them and the community technology assets to act as a gateway for lead generation and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attraction.

The goal of this program is to enable the Comox Valley to position itself for company relocation and FDI.

This program relates directly to the Resident and Entrepreneur program from the 5 year economic development strategy as tapping into the linkages between the Valley’s existing tech community and their networks in larger centres, with the goal of attracting similar individuals and companies is a key target.

Business Support Services and Resources

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In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing economy, information is power. A fundamental service of Comox Valley Economic Development is preparing and providing demographic and economic data including population, income, education, labour force, migration, construction and real estate, and tourism data, to help small business startup, grow and enhance.

Click here to view the current Statistics and Data.

The data featured online is sourced from a variety of partners including;

Receive monthly regional and provincial stats and upcoming opportunities delivered to your inbox via the CVEDS Business Counts e-Newsletter that presents a snapshot construction, real estate, tourism data trends, as well as upcoming workshops and networking events. To register for the Business Counts, or other sector e-Newsletters, click here.

The Business Support Services and Resources Program from CVEDS annual Work Plan aligns to the Economic Profile and Information Program from the CVEDS 5 Year Strategy.

Business Counts Workshop Series

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October is Small Business Month and Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS) is celebrating by hosting a series of Business Counts Lunch & Learn Sessions, Professional Development Workshops, and a Tourism Industry Mini-Conference. Business owners, managers, and staff can take advantage of various educational, development, and networking opportunities, many of them free, to help them grow and thrive in the Comox Valley.

The start of the month kicks off with the Business Counts Lunch & Learn Workshop Series, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada. Topics will cover a wide range from starting a new business, alternative sources of capital, business transition, food safety innovations, to expanding markets. Attendees will learn from leaders in a range of business fields to help enhance business objectives with new trends, tools and tips.

Additional professional development workshops are happening October 21st to 23rd during the Tourism & Professional Development Week with three workshops including:

  • “Superhost Destination Ambassador Comox Valley”, perfect for any frontline staff and is tailored specifically to the Comox Valley;
  • The Food & Beverage Industry Workshop features speakers from BC Restaurant Foodservice Association as they discuss how to “Make Social Media Work for You”;
  • and the sold out “Grow with Google” Program, presented by Tourism Vancouver Island.

That week will culminate with the Tourism Industry Mini-Conference, October 24th, 4-7:30pm, Vancouver Island Visitor Centre. Operators, owners, frontline staff, volunteers and stakeholders will come together to learn, provide vital input into 2020 tourism and destination marketing plans, and network with sector leaders! Speakers from Tourism Vancouver Island, Mountain Bike Tourism Association, and BC Ale Trail will host informative mini-sessions. There will also be information stations presented by Destination BC, Tourism Vancouver Island, Comox Valley Airport, Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, Comox Valley Arts Council, Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay Downtown BIA, Harbour Air Seaplanes, and North Island College Student Employment Services. The Networking BBQ & Mixer will be catered by The Pickled Carrot with tasting stations from 40 Knots Vineyard & Estate Winery, Wayward Distillery, New Tradition Brewing Company, Ace Brewing Company, and more.

The Business Counts Workshop Series is an important ongoing activity in CVEDS Work Plan that addresses common issues and challenges facing small businesses to improve business management skills, leading to employment and business growth in the area. Interested in hosting a Business Counts Workshop or providing a topic idea for an upcoming session? Email Business Development Manager, Geoff Crawford, geoff@investcomoxvalley.com.

Biz Map Pilot Project

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Lead by Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS), the City of Courtenay and Town of Comox are the first communities outside of Vancouver to have Small Business BC produce downtown area investment profiles for these two communities. These profiles will be hosted online and are known as “BizMap” and will provide the region’s businesses and potential investors with a powerful tool to analyze and compare key market data at the downtown area level to assist in making key business decisions.

Providing this innovative investment attraction tool for use by entrepreneurs, existing businesses and those looking at business relocation and investment is a new approach to presenting demographic data and comparable statistics for those looking in the downtown Comox and Courtenay areas. The Biz Map Pilot Project – Small Business BC Downtown Incentive Zone Profiles Program from CVEDS annual Work Plan aligns to the Economic Profile and Information Program from the CVEDS 5yr Strategic Plan.

The BizMap profiles for Comox and Courtenay are anticipated to be launched late in 2019.

Immigrant & Entrepreneur Relocation

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The Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS), is participating in the BC Provincial Nominee Program – Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot, representing the Comox Valley communities of the Town of Comox, City of Courtenay, and Comox Valley Regional District Areas A, B, and C.

This program is designed for entrepreneurs from around the world who propose to establish and actively manage new businesses in communities outside urban areas.

CVEDS is engaging with the Province of BC and the other participating communities in the pilot project that was recently launched and will continue over 2 years. This program relates directly to Investment Attraction Program Resident and Entrepreneur Relocation within CVEDS current Work Plan, as relocation of skilled workers and entrepreneurs have been identified as key priorities and opportunities.

For more information check here:

Inbound and Outbound Trade and Investment Delegation Support

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A core function of CVEDS Investment Attraction and Promotion Focus area is supporting Trade and Investment Delegations to assist local businesses in pursuing trade opportunities outside of the region, as well as to profile investment and business relocation opportunities.

CVEDS hosts a variety of private and government (provincial and federal) delegations throughout the year. The largest Trade and Investment delegation hosted to date was during the 2019 BC Seafood Expo which saw a delegation of 69 qualified buyers attend in partnership with the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, as well as by Global Affairs Canada, representing 12 countries, and featured 385 meetings between the delegation and seafood producers and businesses.

This program relates directly to Investment Attraction programs from the 5 year Economic Development Strategy including Agrifood Investment and Land Utilization, and Resident and Entrepreneur Relocation as increasing local food production and food security, as well as relocation of skilled workers and entrepreneurs which have been identified as key priorities and opportunities.

 

Destination Marketing

Destination Marketing

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Comox Valley Economic Development is proud to be the regional Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) representing the City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, and areas within the Comox Valley Regional District. Under the banner ‘Discover Comox Valley’ it promotes the region’s tourism attractions and attributes to enhance the economic well-being of the region. This exciting & dynamic role is lead by the volunteer-based Comox Valley Destination Marketing Advisory Committee, the broader tourism industry, and supported via the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (VIVC, Comox Valley), and the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), a 2% tax collected by Courtenay accommodation providers to be used for Destination Marketing initiatives.

Recent initiatives and campaigns have focused on event based initiatives as the primary way to increase visitation and awareness of the Comox Valley:

  • BC Seafood Festival – the second largest seafood festival in Canada.
  • BC Seafood Expo – the largest seafood industry trade event in western Canada.
  • Dine Around Festival – celebrating its 11th year in 2020, and the chefs and culinary attractions of the area.
  • Après Ski Campaign – carving out a reputation for its premier snow-sports attractions on Mount Washington, and the extensive live entertainment line-up each January/February.
  • Comox Valley Farm Cycle Tour – learning, tasting and experiencing the range of extensive farms, food and beverage producers to local and visiting cycling enthusiasts.

Discover Comox Valley also participates and leverages annual provincial level Destination BC marketing initiatives with Island DMOs and sector groups including:

  • BC Ale Trail
  • BC Ski Areas Co-op Campaign
  • Vancouver Island Mountain Biking Consortium Campaign
  • Circle Tour Route Campaign

Additional programs that fall within Destination Marketing include:

  • Media Fam Tour Hosting – Welcoming accredited media to visit the region and support telling the stories of the Comox Valley tourism attractions, product and innovative operators to increase visitation. Click here for additional information.
  • Visitor Service & Fulfillment – The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre continues to be in the top three busiest centres on the Island, serving over 240k guests since opening in 2011 to discover the region!
  • Discover Comox Valley e-Blasts – Weekly e-Blasts to targeted a consumer databases to promote, sell and drive increased focus to the regions events, tours, and many attractions.

Funding is leveraged extensively to undertake these and many other programs via the MRDT, grants, event ticket sales and sponsorship programs, and private sector co-op marketing programs. Destination Marketing and Visitor Services are two key ongoing activities within CVEDS annual Work Plans to support the economic well-being of the region by increasing visitation and length of stay in the Comox Valley.

 

Visitor Services

Visitor Services and Fulfillment

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The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre opened its doors in 2011 as new format sales centre to increase economic impacts of tourism in the region by showcasing the breadth of tourism experiences & products and increasing length of stay. The Visitor Centre continues to be one of the busiest centres on Vancouver Island, with its Destination BC trained staff having welcoming over 240k guests from around the world and is operated by Comox Valley Economic Development.

In addition to serving visitors, the Centre also offers a suite of business support and marketing programs to leverage this sales centre. Businesses interested in intercepting visitors or learning how they can use and leverage the Centre – please view the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre Marketing & Sales Services or drop into the Centre, 7 days a week, 9 – 5 pm to learn more.

Brochure Racking

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre displays brochures from regional businesses in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The Visitor Centre also maintains the brochure racking at the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). These brochures are used as a sales tool and provided to visitors who are planning their stay in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island or British Columbia. Racking Contract.

Screen Advertising

There are five screens located in each corner of the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre which display various outdoor/indoor activities and things to do not only in the Comox Valley, but on the entire Vancouver Island. Each screen rotates through the ads at different times thus giving the visitors a visual experience of things they can do in the Comox Valley and surrounding areas. Many visitors ask for more information about the ads they’ve seen on the TVs which has resulted in bookings. There is also a large screen behind the Visitor Services counter that displays all the upcoming events happening in the Comox Valley for the next two weeks.

Signage Advertising

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre offers hallway signage and signage in each of the bathrooms to showcase regional attractions, businesses or tours, right in front of visitors, on a daily basis. These can be booked on a monthly basis making it easy to target specific time periods or to showcase a time sensitive event or tour.

Google My Business Program

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre and Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS) have partnered with Google to become a Google DMO. The Google DMO Program is designed to verify a business’s “My Google Business” and once it has been claimed, help businesses optimize their listing by updating their business information, responding to Google Reviews and to post notices, events etc onto their listings. The service also have the capability to take 360 degree photos to further enhance a businesses Google Business listing…. and it’s free!

The Google DMO Partnership Program is an initiative that seeks to engage destinations around the world through opportunities to enhance consumer facing content across a range of Google’s products and tools. Over 200 destination marketing organizations have enrolled in the program that is designed to provide tools and tactics to improve the completeness, quality and accuracy of destination content across Google Maps, Destination Travel Guides and more. Contact the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre to book a Google My Business appointment today, (250)-400-2882 or visitorcentre@discovercomoxvalley.com.

Retail Consignment Program

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre offers products made locally in the Comox Valley or Vancouver Island. Visitors are always on the lookout for locally made products – working closely with local artisans in showcasing and promoting their products. Click here to view the Consignment Agreement.

Online Tours and Activity Agreement Program

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (VIVC) can help tours and activity operators get exposure and bookings via its Discover Comox Valley website booking platform Rezgo. The Discover Comox Valley website is linked on all Social Media and Marketing platforms to increase sales of available tours and activities, thereby showcasing the depth of activities available in the region and increase overnight stays. Check out the VIVC Online Booking Agreement here.

Free Event Listing

List your Comox Valley event on the Discover Comox Valley events calendar for free. Just supply a catchy photo along with a link to your event for more details and a small write up, and the Visitor Centre will publish it once it’s been proofed. This calendar is one of the most robust in the region and is widely linked to by other businesses, as well integrated into Social Media, Marketing Campaigns, and e-Blasts sent to 15k+ consumer database, as well as used when counselling visitors ~30k+ visitors annually. Submit your event here.

Annual Reports

To view Vancouver Island Visitor Centre Annual Reports, click here.

Online Tour & Activity Booking Agreement Program

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The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (VIVC) offers an online booking platform called Rezgo that enables the Centre to showcase and book a variety of tours & activities online to visitors. Rezgo enables Tour Operators to sell their tours to visitors, no matter where they reside and what time of day, thereby extending the reach of the operators’ “sales systems”. Further, the Centre features these tours and products extensively on the Discover Comox Valley website, in Discover Comox Valley consumer e-Blasts and via its social media channels, to support expand the awareness and support sales.

Current tour and activities examples include:

Operators interested in learning more about the Online Tour & Activity Booking System structure can contact the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, 1-855-400-2882 or visitorcentre@discovercomoxvalley.com – open 7 days a week, 9 am – 5 pm.

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre opened its doors in 2011 as new format sales centre to increase economic impacts of tourism in the region by showcasing the breadth of tourism experiences & products and increasing length of stay. The Visitor Centre continues to be one of the busiest centres on Vancouver Island, with its Destination BC trained staff having welcomed over 240k+ guests from around the world and is operated by Comox Valley Economic Development.

Downtown Comox Ambassador Program

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The Comox BIA and CVEDS collaborated for the second year to present the Downtown Comox Ambassador Program this summer. The program’s goal is to engage visitors and boaters who would not normally visit the brick-and-mortar location of the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, to increase awareness of the businesses, services and attractions in the area.

The roaming Ambassador team engaged visitors in downtown Comox, Marina Park and the Wharf area Thursday to Sunday June 27 – September 1. During that time they interacted with over 2800+ visitors from around the world seeking information on activities, things to do, attractions and more.

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre opened its doors in 2011 as new format sales centre to increase economic impacts of tourism in the region by showcasing the breadth of tourism experiences & products and increasing length of stay. The Visitor Centre continues to be one of the busiest centres on Vancouver Island, with its Destination BC trained staff having welcoming over 240k guests from around the world and is operated by Comox Valley Economic Development. In addition to the Ambassador Program, the Centre also have a Mobile Visitor Centre unit that will participate in key events throughout the years to extend the reach of visitor intercept and servicing, outside of the Visitor Centre itself.

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre Retail Consignment Program

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With the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre welcoming ~30k visitors annually seeking information on the region, there is also interest in locally produced arts, crafts and other products that represent the region. The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre offers a Retail Consignment Program to provide local artisans and producers the opportunity to showcase their products to visitors to the Centre, 7 days a week.

The Consignment Agreement is based on a 60/40 basis. To learn more, drop into or call the Visitor Centre, 3607 Small Rd, Cumberland, (250) 400-2882.

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre Summer at a Glance

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The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (VIVC) was a hot-spot of activity this summer, with visitors from around the world converging on the Centre, making it one of the top 3 busiest Centres on Vancouver Island, with over 5000 true visitors alone arriving at its doors.

Recognizing not all visitors will go to the Visitor Centre, the VIVC triggered its Mobile Visitor Centre to intercept visitors at numerous key events this summer including Canada Day, Courtenay Downtown Market Days, Filberg Festival, Nautical Days, Comox Valley Fall Fair, Comox Valley Farmers Market, Black Creek Fall Fair, and the Comox Valley Farm Cycle Tour.  The Visitor Centre also hosted the Comox Valley Classic Cruisers and VW Bug Club for their two cruises with over 400 in attendance.

In collaboration with the Comox BIA, the VIVC undertook the Downtown Comox Ambassador program for the second year in a row, engaging with visitors in the downtown core and harbour areas to increase awareness and visitation to downtown area businesses and regional attractions, with ~2900 visitors engaged, who may not have otherwise visited the Centre.

The Destination BC trained staff play an important role as the first point of contact for many visitors, with the objective of providing information about Comox Valley communities, business, accommodations, events and attractions to increase the length of stay, and thereby the economic impact to the economy. To view the various services the centre provides, click here.

 

Communications

Memorandum of Understanding Agreements

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Collaboration and partnership has been a cornerstone of Comox Valley Economic Developments efforts as a way to support annual work plans and initiatives. CVEDS signs Memorandum of Understandings with a myriad of partners to define areas of common focus, roles and how the groups can leverage efforts for better results. Highlights of MOU collaborations include:

Memorandum of Understanding Agreements are a priority project within the current CVEDS Work Plan to improve program alignment and generate stronger outputs from increased clarity in roles through areas of shared focus of efforts and collaboration.

Communications & Presentations

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Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS) undertakes a range of communications activities to support increased awareness of, and participation in, its programs and services for businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, visitors, and municipal and private sector partners. These include:

  • Presentations & Updates – click here to view recent presentations;
  • e-Newsletter Distribution – Business, Agrifood, and Tourism industry e-Newsletter and consumer e-Blast distribution – click here to register to received a selection of e-Newsletters;
  • Press Release Distributionclick here for recent releases;
  • Social Media Channels Engagement
    • Twitter:
      •  @VIVisitorCentre
      •  @ComoxValley
    • Facebook: 
      • @VIVisitorCentre
      • @cveds
    • Instagram:
      • @DiscoverComoxValley
      • @bcseafoodfestival
  • Media Hosting Programs – click here to view details;
  • Annual General Meeting (May) and Reportclick here for the most recent report.

Communications is one of the four main Focus Areas in the CVEDS annual Work Plan.

Earned Media Generation and Hosting Program

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Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS)  has welcomed and supported hundreds of media from around the world to showcase and profile the regions tourism, investment and business success stories and opportunities, generating millions of dollars of earned media exposure.

The communications and marketing team with Comox Valley Economic Development can support media on assignment in numerous ways including the creation of customizable visiting media itineraries, connecting media to the right contacts on the ground, and the provision of content, images, data and stats to support the development of the story.

To view some recent coverage view the News Centre. To check out recent coverage on the Comox Valley, the BC Seafood Festival and the areas robust seafood industry, click here.

The Earned Media Generation and Hosting Program is an ongoing activity within the CVEDS annual Work Plan, undertaken with extensive partners, recognizing the importance of generating earned media as a key tactic in supporting increased visitation and interest in the region for investment, business and tourism.

Sector e-Newsletters and Consumer e-Blasts

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Supporting the provision of timely, relevant and engaging content to support both businesses, potential investors and visitors in an important role Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS) undertakes.

Having built up a segmented CASL database system, CVEDS provides weekly to monthly e-Newsletters with a focus on Business, Agrifood and Tourism sector stats, events, updates and reports to support those key sectors access to information to help grow and support the businesses within each area. Additionally, under the Discover Comox Valley banner, CVEDS expands the reach of its destination marketing activities via direct to consumer tactic e-Blasts, promoting events, tours and attractions to a targeted database to drive increased length of stay and sales conversions. To sign up to receive any of the newsletters – Click Here.

As part of its Communications activities in its annual Work Plan, CVEDS also maintains Business and Tourism social media channels, Invest and Discover websites, and event-specific micro-sites to showcase the region.

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