Downtown businesses in Merritt have benefited from the closure of a popular rest stop off the Coquihalla.
Manager of the Visitors Information Center in Merritt Sandy Carnow says the center saw nearly 30 per cent more visitors this summer compared to last.
The center’s summer numbers were presented to city council last week, which says many new guests were people who would’ve used the rest stop off Exit 286.
“And also I’ve heard stories from most of the restaurant owners in the downtown that their business is way up. So it really has helped the downtown, which has struggled quite a bit since all the gas stations were built up along the highway.”
Overall, Carnow says the downtown visitor center is up about 25 per cent for year since the highway rest stop closed in January.
The report says the center had 13,294 visitors in July, August and September, which is about 3,000 more visitors than those three months in 2017.