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Spirit Loop tourism campaign highlights First Nations businesses, attractions

Langford, Sooke, Port Renfrew and the Malahat First Nation have joined together to launch a tourism marketing initiative called the Spirit Loop, highlighting Indigenous businesses and points of interest in each of the regions, including places to eat
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Peter Doukakis of the Port Renfrew Economic Development Task Force addresses the crowd during an announcement about the Spirit Loop at the Malahat Skywalk on Tuesday. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Langford, Sooke, Port Renfrew and the Malahat First Nation have joined together to launch a tourism marketing initiative called the Spirit Loop, highlighting Indigenous businesses and points of interest in each of the regions, including places to eat, stay and play.

At the launch at the Malahat Skywalk Tuesday, provincial Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said the partnership is an example of “reconciliation in action.”

“The Spirit Loop highlights how Indigenous tourism businesses are connecting people and communities and encouraging visitors to spend time at several destinations while creating a deeper connection.”

The collective was formed in 2019, but the rollout was stalled due to limited access to tourism businesses and travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

Funding for the project is provided by the partners, with matching funds from Destination B.C.’s co-op marketing program.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said the effort to jointly promote unique tourism offerings and boost the visitor economy in each community is being “taken to the next level.”

“More than ever, tourism businesses need our help, and this campaign will do just that,” he said.

The marketing includes a 14-minute video by film maker Dave Wallace, and produced by Lindsay Bell highlighting a three-night road trip.

Local musician Vince Vaccaro was hired to write, produce and perform the original soundtrack for the documentary. It will be launched in November on ­Spotify. The soundtrack will be part of a road-trip playlist curated for the Spirit Loop campaign.

Malahat Nation Chief George Harry said the collaboration with neighbouring communities is evidence of a special bond.

“It is great to see we are working together as one to grow the community and Vancouver Island tourism business,” said Harry. “We are excited to invite people to see the beauty of Malahat Territory and the surrounding region. Malahat Nation is proud to be a part of the growth and stand along all communities as they move side by side offering help and do what our people have done for thousands of years and that is to move as one and build as one.”

dkloster@timescolonist.com

> See spiritloop.ca