2019 a bumper year for Thompson-Okanagan tourism | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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2019 a bumper year for Thompson-Okanagan tourism

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
January 21, 2020 - 2:00 PM

The number of tourists spending at least one night in the Thompson-Okanagan grew by 18 per cent in 2019 with over 11 million people taking an overnight trip.

New data released by the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association shows 11,355,380 people spent a night in the region, up by 1,700,060 over 2018. An extra 1,375,390 tourists from within Canada spent at least one night in the region compared to 2018 - a 17 per cent increase - while international visitors increased by 324,670 – a 21 per cent increase.

However, the year didn't start well with the number of Canadian visits down every month from January to May. In March 2019, overnight stays by Albertans dropped by 26 per cent. Vernon's Predator Ridge Resort released a marketing campaign in April 2019 declaring 'Our love is real' plastering it on billboards across Calgary in a bid to entice Albertans back to B.C.

It appears to have worked with the number of Albertans in June 2019 increasing by 24 per cent over the year before. The numbers also held steady for the rest of the year showing an 11 per cent increase in Albertan overnight stays by the end of 2019.

When it comes to international visitors unsurprisingly the Americans make up 71 per cent of visits from outside Canada, with 1,333,000 million of them visiting the Thompson-Okanagan and staying overnight.

Australians are the second most frequent travellers to the region with just over 100,000 visiting in 2019. However, the number of Australian tourists who visited for at least one night dropped by 12 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018.

The forest fires of previous years didn't appear to put tourists off in 2019, with numbers in July for domestic and international tourists up by 14 per cent and five per cent respectively. August saw a bigger boom with domestic tourism up by 76 per cent over the year before. International tourism saw a far smaller increase with two per cent more overnight stays in August 2019 than 2018.

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association take the statistics from TELUS, which records cell phone tower data allowing the company to record visits from individuals who do not live in the region. The statistics include only those who stayed overnight in the region. The tourism association only started using this method in 2018 so statistics for other years are not available.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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