Unpredictable summer weather no problem; Penticton tourism operators report brisk activity

Sun seekers enjoy Okanagan Lake Beach in Penticton, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. Despite the unpredictable weather this summer it's shaping up to be a great year for tourism in Penticton.

PENTICTON - Unsettled weather patterns and several rainy weekends in the South Okanagan this summer does not appear to have dampened the tourist industry.

Tourism Penticton executive director Kelly Hopkins says Penticton’s accommodations sector has seen increases across the board for June and July, with Ramada Inn reporting 99 per cent occupancy for July.

“We’ve had some back to back weekends that were full up, with Granfondo, Canada Day and the August long weekend,” she says, noting Peachfest, which just got underway, is anticipated to draw large numbers to the city.

“The weather hasn’t been a deterrent and has increased winery tours and sales, because people come off the beach when it isn’t beach weather,” she says.

Hopkins says the visitor centre has a lot of people coming in to ask about wine tours and the region has seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of international travellers for June and July whe compared to last year.

The same story is echoed in Kelowna this season with traffic at Kelowna airport up 5.9 per cent over 2015.

LocoLanding Adventure Park owner Diana Stirling says her operation has seen an increase in visitors of 17 per cent in July alone.

“The weather hasn’t negatively affected us overall and our guests are really happy with Penticton. They love the feel here,” she says.

Stirling says Tourism Penticton’s work on focussing Penticton as a must visit destination is paying off.

“We are seeing new guests and many returning. We are also seeing an increase this year with international travellers,” Stirling says. She’s welcomed guests from Shanghai, Germany, France, Thailand and Australia over the course of a single evening.

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