Tofino and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Looking Forward to the Return of Visitors on the West Coast
TOFINO, B.C. – As the Province of BC moves into Phase 3 of the Restart Plan and begins to encourage residents to take part in smart, safe and respectful travel within B.C., businesses on the West Coast of Vancouver Island are excited to host visitors seeking a special place to slow down and reconnect.
Situated in Tla-o-qui-aht territory, the community of Tofino and its surrounding areas are known for their expansive beaches, quiet rainforests, outdoor adventures, wildlife excursions and warm hospitality. Tofino’s numerous accommodation options are well suited for safe family travel, and include hotels, condos, cabins, vacation rentals and camping. Over the past few weeks, businesses in Tofino have been re-opening with strict sanitation, hygiene and physical distancing protocols in place so that visitors, staff, residents and First Nations communities can be confident that safety remains the top priority.
As visitors arrive on the West Coast, businesses and local leaders are reminding everyone that this year’s trip to Tla-o-qui-aht territory and Tofino won’t be like any other. Guests are invited to slow down, practice patience and live on “Tofino time” by enjoying culinary favorites in new outdoor dining areas in the heart of downtown, spending time in local shops, and enjoying the natural landscape – all while remembering to maintain physical distance, wear a mask where distancing isn’t possible, and take respectful precautions to protect the Coast’s small communities.
Before making plans to visit the Coast, the District of Tofino, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, Tourism Tofino and the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce are encouraging visitors to stay home if they are sick, plan ahead, and do their research to make sure the areas they might be hoping to visit are welcoming visitors.
The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is reminding the public that the Long Beach communities of Ty-Histanis and Esowista, as well as the Meares Island community of Opitsaht remain closed to non-residents, and invites visitors to enjoy the territory safely, which includes part of the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
“We know that Long Beach is a special and iconic place for many, and our Junior Guardians will be working with the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve to educate visitors about the importance of respectfully visiting the beach without venturing into our communities. Our citizens have worked really hard to protect our most vulnerable members, and we’re hopeful that visitors will do their part to keep it that way,” said Elmer Frank, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Emergency Operations Centre Chairperson.
“Our community is really proud of the ways we’ve taken steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and move forward together as a region,” stated Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne. “We’re also incredibly grateful for the care and concern shown by visitors who postponed their trips to Tofino, and our residents and small businesses are looking forward to welcome you back.”
The West Coast region’s leaders and businesses have been working together to plan and support each other as the tourism economy begins to re-open and, although operations may be modified, the quality of the experiences provided continue to be excellent.
“This has been a difficult time for our tourism-oriented businesses, and we would like to thank the thousands of Tofino fans who have expressed their heartwarming support for our community.” said Shane Richards, Chair of Tourism Tofino. “We have adapted to the new landscape and are very eager to welcome you back.”
For travel information contact the Tofino Visitor Centre at 1-888-720-3414 or go to tourismtofino.com.