Family Day switch concerns western ski resorts

It’s out with the old and in with the new for British Columbia’s Family Day weekend. Premier John Horgan announced on Feb. 9  the holiday will be moved back one week to align with other Canadian provinces’ Family Day holidays starting in 2019.

Chief marketing officer for Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) Aidan Kelly said the resort is not a fan of the decision.

“I would say Family Day not only has been a success from a business standpoint for us but also from an overall guest experience for all the B.C. residents. It’s just going to add a lot of compression during what’s already a busy time,” said Kelly.

He projected the switch to the third weekend in February will create a challenge for people who want to get out and enjoy the outdoors on Family Day.

“I would say currently this weekend is one that we own as a province and that presents a lot of opportunities for B.C. families to enjoy this amazing part of the world we live in, but now everybody’s unfortunately going to have to share that,” said Kelly. “Not only (with) all the other Canadian provinces that also have a holiday but also with our American guests.”

While a press release from the Office of the Premier said Family Day will now be better aligned for businesses and families, Kelly disagreed with the idea that the move will be better for business.

“From my perspective, I do not agree with that. I do understand that there’s more to this decision than just in the tourism industry. There’s different business sectors that are going to have a different perspective on this but from us, on the tourism side of things it’s not something we think is good for business,” said Kelly.

Sun Peaks’ accommodation is already at a capacity for the third weekend in February with guests from other provinces coming for their Family Day holidays and visitors coming from the US for Presidents Day. Kelly anticipated there will be capacity issues going forward in ski resorts all around Western Canada, not just at Sun Peaks.

“The resort is already full next weekend and without B.C. Family Day. There’s only so much space for people to come so there’s going to be a lot of folks that want to come and enjoy not just at Sun Peaks but at ski resort destinations all around Western Canada are going to feel this impact,” said Kelly.