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Bob Wright Named to Tourism Hall of Fame

Page One Publishing Inc.

Oak Bay Marine Group founder and CEO Bob Wright

By Brian Hartz | Nov 08, 2011

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has overwhelmingly agreed to induct Bob Wright, founder and CEO of Oak Bay Marine Group, into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame.

The Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, will be in attendance as Wright is honoured at the Hall of Fame luncheon in Ottawa, on Nov. 23, for his contributions to the success of Canada as and international destination and important industry to the nation.

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and raised in Edmonton, Wright has lived in Victoria since 1951, where he began his tourism career by operating his own fishing charters for a dollar an hour. 

Fifty years later as founder, president, and CEO of the Oak Bay Marine Group of Companies, Wright has divisions in Canada, the United States, and the Bahamas. The companies are involved in many aspects of the hospitality industry, including hotels/resorts, sport fishing, eco and adventure tourism, spas, restaurants, campgrounds, marinas, and attractions.

Employing nearly 1,000 staff in many communities, Wright’s British Columbia Resorts host guests from all over the world each summer season.

Long before the advent of the Internet and social media, Wright’s marketing skill (and budget) helped put British Columbia on the map from a global tourism perspective with his marketing initiatives reaching far beyond North America.

Most recently, Wright donated $11 million to the University of Victoria for scientific research on climate change. The Bob Wright Centre for Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences is a world-class facility that provides a home for the university’s internationally renowned climate change researchers. With a lifelong affinity for the sea, Wright wants to ensure that our oceans are healthy for all future generations. Under his leadership, the Oak Bay Marine Group quietly supports many organizations in various communities, from Ucluelet, B.C., to Long Island, Bahamas.

Wright has been instrumental in marketing British Columbia tourism worldwide for more than 50 years. His persistence has resolved many challenging issues relating to the hospitality and sports fishing industries, paving the way for new operators, and collaborating with the entire sector, to ensure British Columbia continues to draw tourists from around the world.

Celebrating its 50th year in 2012, The Oak Bay Marine Group of Companies was founded in 1962 and now includes the following operations:

  • Oak Bay Marina Ltd. — Victoria, B.C.
  • North Saanich Marina Ltd. — Victoria, B.C.   
  • Pedder Bay RV Park and Marina — Victoria, B.C.
  • Ladysmith Marina — Ladysmith, B.C.
  • April Point Marina — Quadra Island, B.C
  • Pacific Undersea Gardens Ltd. — Victoria, B.C.
  • Canadian Princess Resort — Ucluelet, B.C.
  • Wickaninnish Restaurant — Long Beach, B.C.
  • Painter's Lodge — Campbell River, B.C.
  • April Point Resort and Spa — Quadra Island, B.C.       
  • King Salmon Resort — River's Inlet, B.C.
  • M.V. Marabell — Haida Gwaii & Hakai Pass, B.C.
  • M.V. Charlotte Princess — Langara Island, Haida Gwaii, B.C.
  • M.V. Salmon Seeker — Kano Inlet, Haida Gwaii, B.C.
  • Oregon Undersea Gardens Inc. — Newport, Oregon
  • The Wax Works — Newport, Oregon
  •  Ripley's Believe It or Not — Newport, Oregon
  •  Mariner Enterprises Inc. — Newport, Oregon
  •  Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort — Long Island, Bahamas
  •  The Marina Restaurant — Victoria, B.C.
  •  The Marina Coffee House — Victoria, B.C.
Some of Wright's past affiliations include:
  • A 12-year term as a commissioner for Canada on the Pacific Salmon Treaty.
  • Adviser to the Fisheries Minister on the Pacific Area Regional Council.
  • Director and vice-chairman of the B.C. Ferry Corporation (12 years.)
  • Director on the Victoria Marine Resources Centre
  • Founding member of the Sport Fishing Advisory Board.
  • Member of the Explorers Club (New York)
  • Alderman for the City of Victoria (six years.)
  • Regional director of the Capital Regional District.
  • Managing director of the B.C. Steamship Company.
  • Director of the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C.
  • Life Member of the International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine.
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