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Recognized as a Canadian Signature Experience

News Release:  Sea Otter Kayak Tour Selected as a Canadian Signature Experience

David Pinel kayaking with sunset   sea otter with tasty morsel

Canadian Signature Experience member badgeWest Coast Expeditions Receives National Recognition for Delivering Outstanding Authentic Experiences

Courtenay, BC, Nov. 27, 2013: West Coast Expeditions’ (WCE) 5-Day Sea Otter Kayak Tour has been selected to join the Canadian Tourism Commission’s (CTC) Canadian Signature Experiences collection (CSE)—a stamp of quality and recognition in the competitive international tourism marketplace. This week the CTC announced the latest intake of businesses it has added to its major market development program, all of which offer extraordinary tourism experiences.

The Sea Otter Kayak Tour explores the waters off Vancouver Island northwest of Tofino, in the traditional territory of the Kyuquot-Checleset First Nations – a place and people well off the beaten track. Located on Spring Island, in Kyuquot Sound, West Coast Expeditions’ base camp serves as the perfect hub for world-class paddling suited to novice and experienced kayakers alike. This distinctly Canadian experience connects visitor with the human and ecological story of this remote coastal location. Guests savour the unexpected comforts of an enchanting wilderness retreat complete with beds, a hot shower and gourmet meals, including a traditional salmon feast hosted by a local Aboriginal family. Daily outings feature curious sea otters, colourful intertidal critters, serene estuaries, moss-laden old-growth forests, idyllic sand and shell beaches, as well as rugged sea arches and caves along wave-sculpted shorelines.

“I’ve been a world traveller all my life, and have worked in the adventure tourism industry for over 20 years. Now as a tourism business owner I feel extremely proud and excited to have one of our trips selected as an extraordinary Canadian tourism experience that will be showcased to the world!” reflects WCE co-owner and guide, Caroline Fisher. “We love sharing the wonders of the rich coastal ecosystem here, especially through intimate small-group experiences and unscripted cultural interactions,” adds managing owner and guide, David Pinel.

They own WCE together with Kyuquot-Checleset First Nation local, Bev Hansen-Michel, who notes, "This national recognition from the CTC further boosts our confidence and reach for welcoming international guests."  Bev is in her element hosting visitors to Spring Island and her home territory.  Pinel elaborates, “During our Sea Otter Kayak Tour everyone becomes part of the local story, and their experience with us becomes a part of who they are and what they bring home. This tour is so much more than just kayaking with wildlife among spectacular scenery, it builds understanding, community and ultimately family—a beautiful export from Canada’s west coast!” 

Though delivered in a remote wilderness location, the Sea Otter Kayak Tour includes transportation from the convenient gateways of Courtenay, Comox or Campbell River on central Vancouver Island – all easily reached with domestic or regional airlines. This tour can also easily be combined with an array of other great land, water, wildlife, culinary, and cultural experiences in the region.

“The Canadian Signature Experiences collection is just one of the ways we carve out Canada’s piece of the global tourism pie,” says Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice-president Marketing Strategy and Communications. “This third intake of tourism businesses will help travel agents and tour operators in our international markets make an even more compelling case to travellers that their next destination should be Canada.”

Pinel smiles, “Many guests local to Vancouver Island and Vancouver have been regulars with us over the years and cherish this experience as a gem close to home. Being featured now as a new member of the Canadian Signature Experiences collection is huge for us as a small operator on the western edge of Canada—what an honour.”

About West Coast Expeditions:
West Coast Expeditions (WCE) is the passionate pursuit and cumulative effort of marine educators who've fallen in love with the remote Kyuquot area and people on northwestern Vancouver Island, BC. Our tours start and finish in the Comox Valley (Courtenay/Comox), which is also our year-round office location. We've been industry leaders in connecting people from around the world with the local community, Aboriginal culture, and west coast ecology since 1972, and specialists in sea kayaking experiences since 1988. Our scheduled and customized tour packages are between 4 and 9 days long and are offered from June to September each year. We invest significant thought, effort, and expense minimizing our ecological and carbon footprint, while offering social, economic, and environmental benefits. WCE have active professional affiliations with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC, Aboriginal Tourism BC, and the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC. We support a number of non-profit community, active-living, and conservation initiatives through volunteerism, donations, and sponsorship, many of which are tracked through our commitment as a member business with 1% for the Planet.

For More Information, please contact:
David Pinel, President & Managing Owner