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Nicole Vaugeois

Emeritus BC Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development

Nicole Vaugeois

Building: 305 Room: 446
Phone: (250) 740-6291
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Web blog for Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development:

Nicole Vaugeois

As Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development, Dr. Nicole Vaugeois supports rural communities to use amenity based industries like tourism and recreation to diversify their economies. Nicole entered the Chair position in 2008 and was recently reapproved for a second five year term by the BC Innovation Council.

Vaugeois, who has a PhD in Tourism Planning and Development from Michigan State University, provides support to these communities such as research, information, ideas and insights. She also actively involves her undergraduate and graduate students in coursework and applied research projects in rural area of the province. Nicole is also the Co-Director of the World Leisure Center of Excellence in Sustainability and Innovation at Vancouver Island University.


Her work extends throughout British Columbia where she is engaged in numerous research projects with communities and organizations that do not have research capacity but require information to develop sustainable transitions using natural and cultural amenities to draw visitors. Some of her recent projects include working for Canada’s Rural and Cooperatives Secretariat to develop a typology of natural and cultural amenities in rural Canada and to extract lessons learned from regions using amenities as the driver for new rural economies. In 2013, Nicole lead an initiative with Dr. Pat Maher (Cape Breton) to conduct a strategic analysis of the labour market situation in BC’s Resort Communities and she is planning further work with these municipalities in 2015. She is also working with numerous communities in the Vancouver Island region to develop a community-based system for gathering marketing intelligence data from visitors and in 2014, is leading an initiative to enhance Agritourism within the region.


Many times, the policies and programs that are developed at local, provincial and national levels do not fully reflect the realities or conditions in rural areas. Nicole encourages the development of a rural lens to support policy and planning decisions in non-urban contexts. She is often invited to contribute insights on policies and strategies to ensure they align with the needs of rural regions.


Nicole is a popular invited speaker to numerous organizations and events to share insights on amenity based development, market research, labour market and population dynamics, resilience, and collaboration. She maintains a blog of her insights at .


Vaugeois works closely with partners in other academic institutions and has developed a community of practice in rural tourism in BC. As an ongoing initiative in her position as B.C. Regional Innovation Chair at VIU, she works with partners to host the BC Rural Tourism Conference.


Regional innovation chairs have three main goals:

  • To support applied research, development and innovation that will bolster regional economic and social development in all areas of the province.
  • To attract highly qualified people in areas relevant to regional social and economic development.
  • To support collaboration between post-secondary institutions and their regional communities.

Updated: November 15, 2017