Success Story: Tourism Employment Retention and Expansion Program
Serving a tourism-based and seasonal production-oriented community, the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce wanted to re-orient its services as well as redefine the role it plays in the local economy.
The Chamber proceeded by conducting over 100 interviews with area businesses. This allowed them to identify challenges, recognize issues, and pinpoint opportunities in order to establish a strategy.
Top five challenges were:
- Employee attraction & retention
- Commercial & Industrial Real Estate
- Seasonality of revenue
- Strategic business & succession planning
In response to the findings, the Chamber developed a strategy that employed various tools.
They hosted 19 workshops on a variety of topics as well as a number of business events, all with good attendance. Additionally, on more than 30 occasions, ad hoc support was given to local employers. The strategy included a focus on expanded youth programming, thus, a weekly, after-school Youth Entrepreneurship Program was initiated.
Of particular importance, an employee housing program came to fruition. The Chamber now manages a 10-room staff housing facility which gives local businesses a step up, helps with employee retention and attraction, and lessens the load on the local, residential rental market. The Chamber also works in tandem with other winter municipalities as part of a Ski/Surf Employee swap to help address the ongoing, growing need for staff.
Through the building of stronger relationships with area businesses, the Chamber’s membership grew 40% in one year. Community members have increased knowledge and a greater appreciation for the Chamber’s role in the area and the benefits provided to their members. As a result, there has been an increase in volunteer support, more ad-hoc support, and greater partnership between businesses.