Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tourism rebound still a ways off, but some positives seen from current See for Yourself campaign

The visitor count is picking up at the
Atlin Terminal Visitor Information
Centre, but totals are down significantly
from past years for the North Coast
As we reach what normally would be the mid-way point of the high summer tourism season, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a significant hit to the local hospitality economy, with the volume of visitors to the region down by a large volume from years past.

To get a snap shot of the state of the tourism sector in the region  the North Coast Review reached out to Tourism Prince Rupert's Executive Director Ceilidh Marlow for an update on how the industry is adjusting to the current situation and looking to keep the foundation strong for the future.

Her overview, provided a glimpse into the impact of COVID on the sector and how those in the industry are working to keep tourism going as best they can in challenging times.

"The tourism sector in Prince Rupert has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects will be felt for a long time to come. That said, we have seen a strong start to the 2020 tourism season since BC moved into Phase 3 of BC's Restart Plan, with an average of 75 guests per day in our Visitor Centre in the Atlin Terminal and an increase in both vehicle and ferry traffic through Prince Rupert. 

Tourism Prince Rupert's 2020 See for Yourself campaign is intended to support local businesses by incentivizing spending from both locals and visitors to Prince Rupert with exclusive deals and promotions, available for a limited time. 

Since the campaign launched on July 6th, we have had a fantastic response, with a large volume of requests for more information through our landing page and great engagement with our social media posts." 

To provide some perspective on the visitor count, the current level of 75 visitors a day to the Visitor Centre per five day week would make for an estimated total of 1,500 guests per month for this summer tourism season.

That makes for a large drop compared to the 2019 statistics that saw 6,100 visitors drop in for information at the Cow Bay Tourist centre in July of last year, with 6,300 visitors recorded in August one year ago.  

The difference highlighting how the volume for visitors has decreased for the industry on the North Coast during this year of COVID.

There are some glimpses for a tourism bounce back to be seen however, those who have travelled along George Hills Way and along to Rushbrook floats in the last few days have surely noted a large presence of out of town boaters, launching their vessels from the Municipal facility at Rushbrook.

And while much of their days are spent on the water, when they do come ashore they stock up on supplies, some perhaps staying in local hotels and dining at local restaurants.

Parking was hard to find on the east side of the city Sunday, as
boaters took up many of the available spots along 
George Hills Way,  Drydock Road and at Rushbrook Floats

The volume of visitors for the Tourist Info Centre will of course also be impacted by the cancellation of the 2020 Cruise Season which last year delivered thousands of visitors each week to the very doorstep of the Visitor Information Centre at the Atlin Terminal.

With that economic boost sidelined for the year and concerns over COVID having put the push for tourism into hibernation for much of the year, the focus for 2020 has been regional and provincial.

With Tourism Prince Rupert highlighting what the North Coast has to offer through it's See for Yourself campaign.

In addition to using it to remind those not too far down the road as to what Prince Rupert has to offer, this year, the program has to a fashion looked to make local residents tourists in their own hometown, with a range of opportunities so far exclusive to local residents.

Learn more about what they offer here, and as Ms. Marlowe notes that " the campaign will run until August 17th, adding more deals and promotions as the weeks go on, so stay tuned!"

For more notes related to tourism on the North Coast see our archive page here.

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