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Local Economy Snapshot – Victoria’s Tourism and Retail Sectors

A report in the March edition of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce publication ‘Business Matters’ takes the pulse of several major local economic sectors.  Here is a synopsis of the information about Victoria’s tourism and retail sectors from that report.

Tourism Victoria BC

Always a major contributor to Victoria’s economy, in 2012 our tourism sector experienced a decrease, with a 1% decrease in hotel occupancy rates.  Optimism abounds for 2013 however, with boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts leading the charge.  It seems that more people are looking for the unique experience that these types of accommodation have to offer.

The Victoria Conference Centre saw a drop in ‘delegate days’ from 11,467 in 2011 to 94,529 in 2012, and projections for 2013 aren’t particularly encouraging.  With the arrival of TED conferences in Vancouver and Whistler in 2014, it’s hoped that Victoria can bid to host a satellite TED event.

Retail Victoria BC

While shopping centre vacancies rose to 4.38% in 2012, much of this increase is considered to be due to the new Uptown development, and street front vacancies were down in 2012 over 2011.  Shifting consumer habits are creating problems for ‘showroom’ style retailers (like Best Buy) as people turn to online sellers for certain product categories but smaller boutique style retailers are poised to gain because they offer unique products and the type of personal service you seldom find at big box stores.

Health and wellness retail sectors are experiencing continued growth reflecting both the personal service aspect and demographics as that bulge of population (boomers) moves into their later years.

As you might expect in a challenging economic climate, there are difficulties facing the tourism and retail sectors of our local economy.  Keeping abreast of what’s happening helps business in Victoria respond to changing circumstances and make future plans to capitalize on these changing markets. For more information read the Victoria Chamber of Commerce ‘Business Matters’ March 2013 edition.

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