Tourism is the main economic driver for Vancouver Island and contributes more to the gross domestic product of B.C. than an other industry with the exception of the oil and gas industry.

The president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island, Anthony Everett said each year has been topping the last when it comes to tourism numbers.

“Based on market demand right, market drives so many things. Right now I am predicting we will have a stable year but we have had record years, year over year over year. If nothing else, we just stayed steady, we would be doing really well.”

Everett says despite the smoky conditions on the Island last year from the forest fires on the mainland the tourists kept on coming and hotels, ferries and the Nanaimo airport recorded new high numbers.

He says the North Island, north of Campbell River, where there was no smoke saw the largest increases of first time visitors.

“The only part of the Island, I understood, that they did see some new people which was really nice, was the North Island. They have so much to offer. They still are not a well known part of Vancouver Island, and I am talking north of Campbell River, Sayward and up to Port Hardy and all that. They did see some new people this year because of the smoke.”