As the gateway to Vancouver Island, Nanaimo’s economic profile is as diverse as it’s over 80,000 residents. Changes in demographics have substantially transformed Nanaimo’s economy over the past few decades. Population growth and a strong increase in net migration to Nanaimo have resulted in a shift from a commodity based economy to a diversified and more service based economy. Nanaimo’s location and geography lend itself to provide an economy which is rich in natural resources as well as acting as the central hub of Vancouver Island. Nanaimo’s extensive transportation network, bustling harbour and increase in service-based business provide residents and tourists with a multitude of economic resources, employment opportunities and an accessible tourism market. Nanaimo is the major commercial port on Vancouver Island. In addition, the current Airport Expansion and Cruise Ship Terminal projects are expected to provide a boost to Nanaimo’s economy and tourism sector.
The presence of Vancouver Island University (VIU) is strengthening Nanaimo’s economy in more than one way. A large influx of international students is fuelling the economy. In addition, Nanaimo’s population profile is changing as a result of higher levels of education providing Nanaimo’s businesses with a skilled and educated workforce.
Nanaimo’s diversified economic profile boasts large sectors in construction, retail, technology, service-based industries, healthcare, government, tourism, education and professional sectors. Nanaimo is also an attractive place for entrepreneurs and features many home-based businesses. With an increasing population, higher education levels, affordable housing and in increase in accessibility through airport expansion and the creation of a cruise ship terminal, Nanaimo is consistently increasing its economic vitality and diversity.