Record year for Kamloops Airport


Photo from Wikipedia
Photo from Wikipedia

Transportation to Sun Peaks has seen a large increase amidst a potential record year for resort occupancy.

The Kamloops Airport saw a record number of travellers in January, which airport manager Fred Legace said is largely due to the local ski industry. January 2016 saw 31,323 travellers come through the Kamloops airport, which is a 10.3 per cent increase from the 28,026 travellers in January 2015. Travellers in February were also up nine per cent compared to 2015.

“It’s a record year,” Legace said. “We continue to see record levels. I think the only downturn we ever had was back in 2008. There was a drop off, but ever since then it’s pretty much been record levels of traffic every year.”

“The wintertime stats here at the airport mirror Sun Peaks.”

Shuttles to Sun Peaks have seen a larger increase this year. At the end of February, the overall shuttle numbers were up 20 per cent and the shuttle from the Kamloops airport was up 13 per cent compared to the same timeframe last year, according to Tourism Sun Peaks’ president Christopher Nicolson.

“It’s a jump this year. It makes sense that the shuttle performance is a reflection of the overall resort performance,” Nicolson said.

Shuttles also bring guests to Sun Peaks from the Kelowna airport, and Silver Star and Big White resorts. Guests from Ontario and Quebec are typically the ones arriving from Kelowna on direct flights, while the guests coming from other resorts are usually from Australia and New Zealand, Nicolson said.

The low Canadian dollar has had a positive impact on the ski industry. More skiers are opting to stay in Canada and overseas guests are choosing a Canadian ski trip over the United States, according to Nicolson.

“The dollar has impacted and perhaps encouraged more people to stay in Canada and do a domestic ski vacation instead of going to Hawaii, let’s say, where they’re penalized with the U.S. dollar,” he said.

“There’s lots of examples of overseas guests that have chosen Canada instead of the States because of the dollar and the price point.”

Although the Kamloops Airport doesn’t officially track where the travellers are coming from, Legace said the low Canadian dollar is attracting more visitors to Kamloops from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

“All of the big increases in travel are around the ski resorts, so it’s going to be Americans coming up and it’ll be Kiwis and Aussies,” Legace said. “I do know from talking to folks from New Zealand that their dollar is now almost on par with the Canadian (dollar) so they’re pretty happy about coming here as well.”

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