Tofino swamped with tourists as businesses recover from pandemic

Tofino swamped with tourists as businesses recover from pandemic
People line up outside of a business in Tofino. Aug. 19, 2021.

A rush on tourism on Vancouver Island’s west coast is making up for months of losses in a short period of time, Tofino locals say.

As crowds cram sidewalks, fill hotels and line up out the door of restaurants in Tofino, the west coast town is flooded with people and locals say they’ve never seen anything like it.

“It is definitely, in regards to humans on the coast, it is the busiest we’ve seen especially since it was shortened,” said Geoff Johnson, who has lived in Tofino for 15 years.

Dave Walton and Kris Crevier opened up Tofino Electric Bikes out of a shipping container in their driveway two months ago, and say they’ve now been rented out of bikes every day that they’ve been open.

“We were meeting demand probably for the first three weeks, now we already need to expand,” said Crevier.

The labour shortage has also posed problems for businesses, so Crevier is working at a local restaurant at night — and that’s also packed.

“Yeah, after maybe 20 to 30 minutes of being open, the wait list is probably two hours long at the restaurant,” he said.

“The coffee shops are the big sign, every single coffee shop there’s a line out the door and that’s a quick turnover thing, they should be able to push people through.”

Colleen MacFadgen, 20, says she never expected so many people in Tofino because of what it takes to get there via Highway 4, which has regular closures through Kennedy Lake for four hours each day.

Yet the traffic keeps coming.

“I was surprised how many cars are coming both ways, like I thought it would be quieter,” she said.

Meanwhile, hotels are still booking up into November, according to Crevier.

“So we’re prepared for it to just kind of roll into winter. A very extended summer season,” she said.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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