KCFN Marina and Campground LP operates four businesses in Kyuquot, BC (including Walters Cove Resort, Fair Harbour Marina and Campground, Houpsitas Village Suites); all of which have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overall company expects a total revenue loss in excess of $1.5-million; about a 65 per cent reduction of what was projected for the 2020/21 fiscal year. Operating in the territory of the Kyuquot/Checklesaht First Nations and understanding where the local Indigenous Peoples stood on allowing visitors into the village also posed a unique challenge.
Walters Cove Resort is a fishing lodge that did not open for the 2020 season. Thankfully, over 90 per cent of its primarily American guests rolled their deposits over to 2021, however, that has left the seasonal business with no revenue for 2020.
Fair Harbour Marina and Campground opened to guests on June 29th, but is usually open all year and in full swing by the May long weekend so has lost the revenues from its highest capacity operating period.
Houpsitas Village Suites is a brand new motel that opened March 9th then immediately closed March 16th due to COVID-19. It has recently reopened for essential workers in the community, but remains closed to visitors.
“It was helpful to have one point of contact to go to for advice on all three businesses,” said General Manager Terry Schultz, about enrolling in the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program. “Wading through the plethora of emails from all the different sectors and associations we belong to was overwhelming and redundant. All organizations have tried to help in their own way, but the centralized support provided by the tourism resiliency program has been key.”
KCFN Marina and Campground LP achieved a ground-breaking collaboration between the Kyuquot/Checklesaht First Nations and tourism operators in the territory to determine how they could safely operate. They came up with a set of parameters around which to base a COVID-19 operating plan that was submitted to the Nations for approval.
Although the Nations are restricting access to Kyuquot through Fair Harbour to authorized travel only, they agreed to permit guests who have booked with one of the tourism operators in the region to enter the territory with adherence to the community protection plan and all COVID health and safety protocols.
“It was an emotional experience to alleviate everyone’s fears, but we shared one priority – the safety of the community,” Schultz said. “Without this process in place, it is likely that none of the tourism businesses would have opened, but instead we have eight who have been able to operate to some degree.”
In addition to meetings with Program Experts in the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program, KCFN Marina and Campground LP has also benefited from stimulus grants from Indigenous Tourism BC. Both programs have supported marketing initiatives KCFN Marina and Campground LP has been able to employ, as well as ideas for new revenue streams.
For example, Walters Cove Resort is utilizing its fish processing facility to process fish caught by other lodges in addition to its own. It is welcoming “drop-in” visitors to help replace its international guests and is providing accommodations for essential workers. Fair Harbour Marina and Campground is offering fishing charters and wildlife and cultural tours using boats that are going unused at Walters Cove Resort.
The uncertainty of 2021 international bookings and whether there will be a season next year at all is a prevailing concern, but KCFN Marina and Campground LP is working hard to adapt its businesses and find long-term resiliency.