Kamloops hotels were more profitable this summer compared to last, which one local tourism official says had to do with fewer nearby wildfires.
The president of the Kamloops Accommodation Association Tyson Andrykew says local hotels offered rooms to many evacuees and first-responders in 2017.
Andrykew says this past fire season though, there was significantly less demand for that help.
“Going into 2018, I think Kamloops has rebounded really well. We’ve had a lot of the leisure guests that maybe cancelled their rooms in 2017 decided to come back. They saw that we’re still open for business and there’s still a lot of activities and a lot of great things to do in the area,” Andrykew says.
He adds tourists weren’t greatly deterred by wildfire smoke.
“There may have been some fears out there that the summer of 2018 would see a big decline from 2017, as people’s perception can impact their decisions, but I think we’ve seen that people came back to Kamloops and they came back in a big way.”
Room revenues in Kamloops were just over $24.8 million in August and September, which is about six per cent higher than the same months of 2017. Thompson-Nicola region hotels also saw an increase of about four per cent in the same two months of this year.
The Okanagan, meanwhile, didn’t fare as well during the worst of the wildfires this year, as Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Osoyoos all saw drops in room revenues in August and September.
Following the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association’s annual general meeting last month, TOTA’s vice president Ellen Walker-Matthews said the Okanagan had more lost visitors than the Kamloops area during fire season, particularly the South Okanagan.