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Our Island among top 10 best places in the world, according to magazine ranking

Posted by Ron Neal on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 at 12:21pm.

Our Island among top 10 best places in the world, according to magazine ranking 'Travel + Leisure' magazine award will help boost the region's tourism industry, according to experts Walter Cordery, Daily News (Nanaimo) Published: Monday, July 09, 2012 It comes as no surprise to Rene and Monique Vaanstra that readers of Travel Leisure magazine have once again voted Vancouver Island as the top island to visit in Canada and the continental United States. As far as island getaways go, the Dutch couple think readers of the magazine are absolutely correct. The Vaanstras are visiting from Holland and they came to British Columbia to see wildlife, specifically whales. Kaebe Spearing, 2, left, and brother Kason, 4, entertained themselves with log walking and throwing rocks and sticks into the water at Piper's Lagoon in June. The couple landed in Vancouver after a trip from Amsterdam four-and-a-half weeks ago. It is their first trip to Canada. They rented a recreational vehicle and have been travelling throughout the Pacific Northwest. As they checked into Nanaimo's Living Forest Campground on Sunday, they were beaming about their holiday and the reception they've received on the Island. "It's just terrific," Monique said. "We've been to Tofino, Victoria and now Nanaimo." "We wanted to come to Vancouver Island to see the whales." Not only have they spotted both grey whales and humpbacks, they've had the added thrill of seeing 24 bears during their travels in B.C. And they also saw some elk near Hope. "The wildlife is fantastic here and we've been quite lucky, especially the last few days, with the weather," she said. For a region that has so much wilderness and wildlife, Monique said the couple were also impressed by many of the amenities on the Island. "Tofino, which is tiny, has everything. It's a gorgeous place to visit and I'm hoping Nanaimo is the same," she said. "We can't say enough about our experience in B.C., especially Vancouver Island and we will definitely be telling friends in Holland about it here." Readers of Travel Leisure rated Vancouver Island as the 10th best island in the world to visit. Some of the Hawaiian Islands and Caribbean Island topped Vancouver Island as did the Philippine Island of Boracay and Bali, in Indonesia. The Island's scenic beauty, people and hospitality are behind the ranking, said Dave Petryk, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island. He'll accept the award at the magazine's award ceremony in New York on July 19. "We've had No. 1 (in the Canada and continental U.S.) about four times in the last 10 years," he said. "I think the significant thing this year is that we're in the top 10 in the world." Readers judged island destinations for their natural attractions, activities and sights, restaurants and food, people and value. Rob Littlejohn, manager of Living Forest Campground, said whenever the Island does well in Travel Leisure's rankings, he can predict an upswing in European tourists. "We have an awful lot of people from Europe who come to B.C., rent an RV and then travel around the province. They always come to the Island," he said.At his family's campground there are tourists from Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and other European countries. According to readers of Travel Leisure, Tofino's Wickaninnish Inn is Canada's top resort, with Sooke Harbour House in second. Victoria's Hotel Grand Pacific and the Fairmont Empress made the Top 10 in city hotels. Resorts and hotels are judged based on rooms and facilities, location, service, restaurants and value, as well as optional characteristics for business travellers or families. The New York-based magazine's World's Best Awards feature cities and islands, hotels, cruise lines, airlines, car rental agencies and outfitters. Complete results will be available online and in the August issue of the magazine, which will be on newsstands July 20.  

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