Tourism numbers surging in Kamloops

The Stanley Cup arrived in Sun Peaks in style, leading a parade down the mountain.
The Stanley Cup visited Sun Peaks and Kamloops as part of the Hockey Day in Canada celebrations. – File Photo

Kamloops has been a direct beneficiary of the strong tourism numbers recently seen across the province.

Tourism Kamloops reported a 52 per cent increase in Municipal Regional District Tax figures, which is part of the hotel tax, in April 2016 compared to the same month last year. Total visitors assisted by the Kamloops Visitor Centre have also greatly increased, up 41 per cent at the end of June over the same time period in 2015.

“It sure puts us in a great position moving forward. We have to be careful, it could be an anomaly of course, but the increase is trending and the numbers are definitely exciting,” said Tourism Kamloops CEO Beverly DeSantis. “I don’t anticipate we’ll continue to see 52 per cent increases month over month for the rest of the year. I think that was very exciting for us, but we’re definitely going to see increases this year.”

Hosting Hockey Day in Canada in February and the IIHF Women’s World Ice Hockey Championship in April helped boost the increase in visitors and DeSantis said the state of the U.S. dollar also encouraged more people to seek trips within Canada.

Visitation to Kamloops is up 18 per cent from B.C., 21 per cent from Alberta, 32 per cent from other Canadian provinces and 25 per cent from Europe.

“We’ve seen visitorship increase from our U.S. visitors. We’ve also seen a great increase in B.C., Alberta and other Canadian visitors,” DeSantis said. “These ‘staycations’ when the economy is not so good, say in Alberta, B.C. is a great alternative to heading somewhere else— great value for their money and unparalleled in beauty and in activities available.”

Tourism Kamloops’ focus moving forward will be on continuing to promote visitation to the Tournament Capital as well as promoting signature events in the summer months, according to DeSantis.

“Our focus will definitely be on flattening out the year so that we’re paying attention to our needs periods. July and August have historically been very good for our area and we want to continue that to demonstrate that we are truly a four season destination,” DeSantis said.