Homalco Tours secures loan and expands operations despite Covid-19 Tourism slowdown
Xwe’malhkwu (Homalco) Territory – October 15, 2020
On October 7th Homalco Chief and Council approved a $760,000 loan to purchase guest transport boats and establish a retail location in Discovery Harbour Marina which will lead to greater independence and extend the length of the company’s tour season.
Over the past three years, Homalco Tours has moved from a deficit position to one of profitability.
“This pandemic has been a crushing force to the tourism industry, yet through careful planning and with the help of our rainy day fund, we are now in a position to expand operations” said Chief Darren Blaney “What excites me most about this expansion is the ability to offer guests a full Homalco experience. From guest check-in, to transport up Bute, to the Orford tours, guests will really get to know who we are as a people and truly experience the territory and Campbell River area through our eyes.”
Homalco Tours has spent the 2020 tourism season training staff, cleaning up camp, and rebuilding essential tourism infrastructure.
“Even though we had to make the difficult decision to not run tours in 2020 for the safety of our membership, we’ve actually been busier than ever in the office preparing for growth,” said JP Obbagy, General Manager. “Our season is expanding with new tours, and I’m looking forward to the many new capacity building and employment opportunities for trained skippers, guides, retail workers, and maintenance and mechanical trades.”
Homalco Tours turns 20 this year, and has recently received a number of accolades from the Industry including “Exceptional Outdoor Cultural Experience 2019”, Traveller’s Choice Award 2020 from TripAdvisor, and a prestigious “Authentic Indigenous” designation from Indigenous Tourism BC.
The lender Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation (TACC) approved the loan in early October.
“Homalco’s business plan left very little for us to deliberate” said TACC General Manager Sandy Wong, “The proof is in the numbers. This is a solid company with a solid plan. TACC is pleased to offer 35% ($271,000) of the $760,000 Homalco Tours loan as forgivable.”
Media: Chief Darren Blaney 250-203-2566
About Homalco Tours
Homalco Tours is 100% owned and operated by Homalco First Nation. Our Mission is to deliver sustainable and award-winning cultural, wildlife & nature experiences with an authentic Indigenous perspective while growing opportunities for Homalco members.