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Sooke can be the town tourists ‘drive to, not through’: study

Royal Roads University study presented to council
A researcher has given Sooke council some tourism ideas to work on. (Black Press File photo)

By Ella Matte, contributor

A study done by Royal Roads University student Katerina Moiseeva suggests how Sooke can improve its tourism industry - saying it can become a place tourists “drive to, not through.”

She presented the study to the Sooke city council in a meeting held Monday, saying she asked people who had never been to Sooke before a series of questions.

Moiseeva found that the most common negative perceptions of the town were that Sooke needs more sidewalks and lights, there were long wait times and limited choices for dining, and it did not promote attractions effectively and had a lack of attractions.

Transportation to Sooke’s hiking trails was also something she found in her research the district lacked. She measured all the expectations that were not met and 30 per cent said nothing. The next highest percentages were with around 20 per cent saying there was a lack of facilities, an estimated 15 per cent saying there was a lack of eateries and poor restaurant services, and at 12 per cent was poor transportation.

Moiseeva also mentioned many positive things tourists said about Sooke, such as “Sooke has well-maintained hiking trails, good quality-to-price ratio, it is easy to find information about Sooke, and offers sports and adventurous activities.”

In her summary, she lists the steps she thinks Sooke needs to take to a become dream tourist spot.

They were having a “destination image, a competitive advantage, improving marketing, developing features and identifying the ‘heart’ of the town.”

The primary goals she presented to the city council were to “develop a transportation system to access nature sights by bus, diversify the tourism product, developing cultural, historical and Indigenous tourism, increasing the number of scheduled events and ‘after-hike activities, and creating ‘the heart’ of Sooke.”