Hotels continues strong year as tourists drive to Kamloops

KAMLOOPS – Kamloops hotels are staying fairly full this year as tourists are driving to the city from Alberta and Washington state.

Tourism Kamloops spokesperson Monica Dickinson says after a strong winter season, momentum has continued for the city’s tourism sector with increases in hotel occupancy and visitor interactions. During the first five months of 2016 hotels recorded a 16 per cent increase over the year before in revenue, or more than $2.5 million more.

“We’re certainly seeing visitor volume increases,” she says. “This is on par with room revenues from the province.”

The winter’s sporting events jump started the year for hotels, but Kamloops Accommodation Association president Joey Beltrano says a strong shoulder season, when things are typically slow, kept things going after Hockey Day in Canada and the Women’s World Championships in the winter. The filming of the Power Rangers film was another boost, outside of tourism and sports.

“Summer really started for us in April, which was a fairly strong and robust month,” he says. “To have this flow into the last quarter of the year is critical.”

Since then occupancy has stayed above 2015, with total revenue and daily rates both up.

Beltrano also notes that it’s good to see the provincial trend being reflected in smaller B.C. communities and says he’s seeing a lot of rooms rented to Albertans.

There’s also been more than a 30 per cent increase in interaction between tourists and Tourism Kamloops this year, though Dickinson says it’s not entirely due to increased visitors, as the organization has changed some of it’s strategy which includes more outreach outside the city’s tourism information centre.

“Visitor numbers are increasing but our efforts are increasing,” she says. “Our whole model of tourism marketing business is changing.”

The increases are due to a couple factors she says, as the low Canadian dollar and slumping oil market have drawn visitors, especially those within driving distance, like Alberta and Washington state. The Kamloops Airport has recorded lower numbers this year over June and July, but Dickinson says the bulk of Kamloops’s visitors arrive by road.

While Tourism Kamloops is already marketing in Washington state, advertising in 2017 may target Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton will also continue to be important markets, Dickinson says, while increasing locals knowledge of tourism in Kamloops is another current goal.

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