Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’ / Che:k:tles7et’h’ (Kyuquot/Checleset) First Nations Group of Businesses, specifically Tiičma Hospitality LP acquires West Coast Expeditions.

Ecotourism is a key component of the Vancouver Island economy. Our unique geography, ancient forests, stunning seas, and diverse Indigenous cultures draw visitors from around the world. Kyuquot Sound, on the remote northwest coast of our island has a beautiful and distinct landscape that is the home to the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’ / Che:k:tles7et’h’ (Kyuquot/Checleset) First Nations people since time immemorial.

Image of a cedar tree, close up, with moss covered bark.

For the past 50 years, West Coast Expeditions has been offering guided sea kayaking trips that connect visitors with the ecological and cultural story of the region. The tours all happen in the traditional territories of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’ / Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations.

Dave Pinel worked for West Coast Expeditions for 27 years, and he and his wife Caroline Fisher along with Bev Michel owned the company for the past 14 years. Several years ago, Dave and the team approached the local First Nation to consider acquiring the company. “There was a lot of untapped potential,” Dave says. He wanted to enhance the opportunity for even deeper cultural interactions and context for guests, shaped by and further benefitting the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’ / Che:k:tles7et’h’ people.

Close up of a cedar branch with water droplets.

Gary Wilson, Chief Executive & Economic Development Officer KCFN Management Services embraced discussions with Dave and the team and in April 2022, the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h / Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations Group of Businesses, Tiičma Hospitality, purchased West Coast Expeditions. A ceremony was held to celebrate the agreement and this exciting transition.

Bev Michel, who is from the First Nation is now taking on a more active managing role on behalf of Tiičma Hospitality. Bev’s training as a guide, her degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management, local knowledge and First Nations perspective will help ensure the integrity of the customer experience.

For Gary Wilson, West Coast Expeditions met all the criteria for acquisition.

Close up of a cedar branch with water droplets.

It’s a conservation-based business with light impact on the environment and allows us to share our values and principles,

~ Gary Wilson, Chief Executive & Economic Development Officer KCFN Management Services

A focus over the coming years will be to enhance the immersive storytelling and cultural experiences for guests. It is part of a strategy that seeks to maintain the business for future generations and is a thriving example of reconciliation in action.

Guests watch fresh salmon being prepared  for a fire cooked first nations style at the West Coast Expedition basecamp near Kyuquot. Vancouver Island,  British Columbia, Canada.
Eco-Tourism | Indigenous Tourism | Ocean | Sustainability

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