Tourism Sun Peaks has cause for smiles as the numbers roll in from their 2013 summer season.
For a resort destination that’s typically been winter-centric, the investment in summer music concerts, farmers’ markets, and athletic adventures has turned the community from a sleepy summer spot to a hive of summer activity.
“What we’re trying to do is create an atmosphere where people will come up and spend several days,” explains Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP). “We’re challenging ourselves to establish a festival kind of atmosphere where people are going to come up, yes for the concert, but they’re coming up and making a weekend or a long weekend out of it with family and groups of friends and they’re including the concert in it. That might be the reason why they heard of Sun Peaks but, as we saw last year, people came up, they enjoyed the experience but then came back and brought friends because they saw all kinds of opportunities. I think that’s why we saw a growth this year and that, most certainly, is what we’re trying to establish and create in future years.”
Based on hotel occupancy rates, village water flows, and RCMP assessments, an estimated 7,000 people were at Sun Peaks for the Burton Cummings concert, with roughly 5,000 of those taking in the show. Approximately 5,500 made the trek up the mountain for the recent Colin James concert, with 6,500 visitors in resort over the weekend.
The summer events were created with the assistance of Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funding, as well as with the support of local businesses.
“With the creation of the municipality one of the great motivations was access to additional kinds of funding as a municipality, so the RMI funding is a key component of that. (It’s) allowed us to place a lot more investment in summers, so kudos to the municipality for that,” said Nicolson. “TSP is one partner, and the one executing (the events), but you have the municipality, the businesses and the residents who are very supportive, and so it’s a collaborative approach.”