Tucked away in the lush rainforest on Vancouver Island’s west coast near Ucluelet lies Wya Point, an Indigenous owned and operated tourism venture. Amanda recently had the opportunity to visit Wya Point Resort owned and operated by Ucluelet First Nation. The Resort offers a broad range of accommodation options and amenities including a campground, ocean front yurts, an ocean front eco lodge, a surf shop and the Wya Welcome Centre. They originally started with just the campgrounds, then after a few years moved on to building the yurts, and after that just recently built the eco lodge. Their service offerings cater to all types of travellers from more basic accommodations to luxury services making it a place that has something for everyone.
It’s operated so effectively by having a central administration building that is accessible off the main highway. This is where the Welcome Centre is and it acts as the hub where you check in, can purchase snacks and souvenirs, and ask questions about what to do in the area. There is also an onsite Maintenance Manager that is there at the campgrounds, yurts and eco lodge, to provide assistance if needed on the ground.
Amanda stayed in the ocean front yurts and they were so cozy! She came during off season so it was a bit cooler outside, but the propane stove kept the yurt nice and warm. They were self-contained units equipped with cooking supplies and a BBQ. Each yurt has their own private access to the beach making it feel like you are having a private experience on the wild west coast. And for it being off season it was entirely booked with families, couples, and young travellers.
For those looking for a more amenities and a luxurious experience, the Eco Lodges at Wya Point offer deluxe accommodation in self-contained, uniquely designed post and beam lodges complete with fireplaces, modern kitchens, spectacular ocean views and walk-on beach access at Ucluth Beach. These were fully booked when Amanda visited, but she overheard some guests checking out stating that they loved their experience and they would definitely come back!
The Wya Point Surf Shop and Café has also opened up and partnered with the resort to provide another service to visitors. It is privately owned by community member, Tyson Touchie and Amanda had the chance to meet the owner at the recent Sustainable Indigenous Tourism conference this past April and heard his story and challenges of starting his own business. He had strong community support to do this venture and he offers something unique in the area. Many people come to the west coast of Vancouver Island for surfing, but he brings an Indigenous perspective to the table by sharing stories about the land, his ancestors, the wildlife and their relationship to the land. Visitors still get their amazing surf experience, but they gain so much knowledge and understanding of the land and the indigenous peoples that inhabited it for so long.
Amanda highly recommends this experience and is happy to deem Wya Point as a best practice in Indigenous Tourism Development. More info on Wya Point can be found at https://www.wyapoint.com and the Surf Shop has their website at http://www.wyapointsurfshop.com.