The resort is maturing.
That’s the thought behind Tourism Sun Peaks’ (TSP) change to the funding bylaw regarding Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), passed at the organization’s annual general meeting on June 24. Starting in 2019, SPR will contribute a set annual amount of $825,000 to TSP instead of five per cent of its annual lift revenue.
This represents around 45 per cent of TSP’s annual assessment fees. When TSP was founded, the lift company contributed around 85 to 90 per cent of the collected fees. Now with more members to assist, the board felt it it made sense to change to a set amount, rather than a percentage.
TSP president and CEO Arlene Schieven said the current arrangement is unpredictable and if the resort sees a slower year, TSP’s budget changes.
“Now that we’re going to a set amount, which is in excess of what we’ve received in the past, we’ll know… It’s certainty for the budget which will help us better plan.”
A provision to the bylaw states if other commercial membership fees are changed, the resort’s will be as well.
Another sign of growth was also announced at the AGM— year round occupancy hit 40 per cent, which is a significant milestone for a highly seasonal destination.
Schieven said they were pleased with last year’s numbers while acknowledging there was still work to be done.
“We still have a long way to go in summer. Year round occupancy of 40 to 41 per cent still doesn’t provide the level of certainty that businesses need here. You’d like to see a resort destination be around the 60 to 65 per cent year round occupancy range, and I think for us to at least aim for the 50 per cent range is a realistic goal to put forward.”
Both summer and winter occupancy saw increases of 12 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, breaking all previous occupancy records. Overall resort occupancy in January and February sat at 80 to 85 per cent and July and August were around 40 per cent.
This June has already surpassed last year’s numbers, making it the resort’s 27th consecutive month of growth.
“It’s a pretty strong statement on the direction that Sun Peaks is going,” said Schieven
While the tourism industry as a whole is growing, Schieven said it bodes well that Sun Peaks is seeing its share of the increase.
A new face will also be seen on the TSP board. Long serving board member Silvia Erler, non-hotel lodging director, stepped down and Derek MacGowan, new owner of Jardine’s, ran unopposed for the position.