The serious flooding of Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes has not stopped tourists staying in Vernon, at least so far.
“We’re not doing that bad,” said Angeline Chew, the City of Vernon’s tourism manager, who has the numbers to back that up.
“We had a record March. For April, it was the second best we’ve had since 2010.”
The City of Vernon collects a two per cent tax on hotel rooms.
“Year to date we’re behind 2.3 per cent (compared to the first four months of last year.) We’re down about $15,945.”
Chew is not too worried, having been told by local hoteliers June numbers are up compared to last year.
“There are tourists here, we’re just not seeing them at the lakes. Davison Orchards reports its visitor count is also up in June.”
However, the flooding didn’t start until May when streams burst their banks. Then the lakes started to rise, damaging property and forcing communities to take flood-protection measures.
“It’s too soon to write a report because we haven’t had the good summer months. And remember, we were golfing here at the end of February last year. It’s hard to compare these two years considering the weather challenges that we’ve had.”
Chew expects this coming September to be busy as well, as Vernon hosts the 2017 55+ BC Games.
“We’re also working with hotels to ensure we’re a value destination compared to Kelowna that has a higher price point. Remember, the lakes are still swimmable, there’s a beach at Kal Lake, there are lots of places to go.”