two people kayaking on reflective water

The tourism industry encompasses diverse sectors including accommodation and food services, transportation, adventure tourism and recreation, attractions, events and conferences, the travel trade and retail.  Tourists are drawn to Nanaimo’s natural beauty and open spaces and enjoy a variety of recreational activities, access to cultural amenities and affordable accommodation.

There are 597 businesses in the accommodation and food service sectors in the City of Nanaimo, accounting for 9.2% of all business licenses in Nanaimo.  The Accommodation and food service sector is the fourth largest employment sector in Nanaimo, accounting for 8.5% of the total labour market, providing 4,235 jobs (2022 Esri).

Business Type Count % of Sector
7211 - Traveller accommodation 24 4%
72119 - Other traveller accommodation (Air B&B, boarding houses) 244 41%
722 - Food services & drinking places 1 0%
72232 - Caterers 17 3%
72233 - Mobile caterers Food Truck 14 2%
72234 - Mobile Caterers Food trailers 10 2%
72235 - Mobile caterers Food Cart 4 1%
7224 - Drinking places (alcoholic beverages) 21 4%
7225 - Full-serv. rest. & limited-serv. eating place 1 0%
72251 - Full-serv. rest. & limited-serv. eating place 92 15%
72252 - Limited Service Restaurants 169 28%
Total 597 100%

Nanaimo offers a wide range of year-round activities including golf, boating, sailing, kayaking, fishing, diving, biking, hiking, bungy jumping, day tours, day spas and more. Amenities include the museum, performing arts theatre, diverse shopping options, exceptional eateries, art galleries and Newcastle Island Provincial marine Park.

Nanaimo is the transportation hub for Central Vancouver Island, offering tourists a wide range of transportation options. BC Ferries offers regularly scheduled service between Nanaimo and the mainland from the Departure Bay and Duke Point terminals. Nanaimo Airport offers daily connections to Vancouver International Airport and direct flights to Calgary and Toronto. Floatplanes from two terminals and Helijet helicopter service is also available to the mainland and other destinations.

For more about Nanaimo's exciting tourism industry, visit Tourism Nanaimo.

Last updated: August 4, 2023

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