The Visitor Information Centre in Duncan is ready to handle the summer rush. (Citizen file)

Chamber column: Duncan visitor centre ready to welcome thousands during busy summer

The Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre services over 25,000 visitors annually

By Sonja Nagel

Operated by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre services over 25,000 visitors annually at its main location adjacent the BC Forest Discovery Centre, and at community events throughout the region.

Together with the other three Cowichan Valley Visitor Centres (Chemainus, Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan) we service over 130,000 visitors annually. Despite the convenience of online access to information about accommodations and attractions, these numbers are proof that visitors still prefer making personal connections with local staff and volunteers.

It is through these connections, that we gain the opportunity to share the unique stories and perspectives that make our communities special, which in turn, translates into more time and tourism dollars spent in our region.

Even more visitors are expected in our region this year due, in part, to several large-profile events. The BC Bike Race, touted to be the longest single-track mountain bike race on the planet, took place this past weekend, with over 650 cyclists in attendance. The Cowichan biking community was thrilled to showcase Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain, which offer some of the best single-track riding in the Cowichan.

Cowichan is also host to the 42nd Annual BC Elders Gathering, which is being held this week from July 10 to 12. Cowichan Tribes is looking forward to welcoming approximately 3,000 attendees to their traditional territory. The Visitor Centre team will be onsite, providing information on the many things to see and do in the Cowichan.

The Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games will take place from July 19 to 22. For the event, 3,072 of B.C.’s best emerging high-performance athletes have registered and are ready to be part of the celebration of sport and community. These athletes will be supported by 453 coaches and 246 officials and countless accompanying family members. The Cowichan Valley is going to be hopping with energy!

Also taking place from July 20 to 22 is the 34th Islands Folk Festival. This popular family friendly event, which is held at Providence Farm, draws visitors from across the island and the mainland. If a three-day music festival isn’t enough, the 39 Days of July will continue to deliver with FREE daily entertainment in Downtown Duncan until Aug. 6.

The August long weekend boasts the return of Sunfest. Thousands of fans descend on Laketown Ranch for this annual Country Music Festival. This year features another all-star line-up including Eric Church, Brett Young, Dallas Smith, Emerson Drive, George Canyon, Aaron Pritchett and many more. Single ticket and full event passes are still available online.

Golf Canada and Duncan Meadows Golf Club will be hosting 240 golfers for the Canadian Men’s Amateur Golf Championship Aug. 6 through Aug. 9, including teams from each Canadian province as well as golfers from Europe and the U.S. The word is out that Cowichan is a golfer’s paradise.

In other news, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber welcomed 33 new businesses to the Chamber family during our May membership drive. This diverse group of members include: QuintEssential Accounting and Bookkeeping; Ironworks Café and Creperie; Genoa Laser Therapy; United Greeneries Operations Ltd.; Equine Emporium; Farm’s Gate Foods and Catering; Small Block Brewery; Malahat Investment Corporation; Edward Jones-Lianne Waters; Microtel Inn & Suites Oyster Bay; Prestige Clean; BC Schizophrenia Society and Forte School of Music among other exceptional product and service providers. A full list of Chamber Members can be viewed on our Business Directory at www.duncancc.bc.ca.

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