Long road to recovery for Penticton accommodation industry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Long road to recovery for Penticton accommodation industry

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 19, 2021 - 2:58 PM

Penticton's accommodation industry has a ways to go to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but overall last year wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Travel Penticton executive director Tom Tischik provided city council with some grim statistics as he discussed the industry’s recovery March 16.

Hotel revenues were down 31 per cent across the Thompson-Okanagan last year, but following the initial COVID-19 shutdowns in March there was some recovery of the industry through the crucial summer months.

In Kamloops, occupancy rates dropped to 30.3 per cent in March, but by August the city’s innkeepers were back to 61.9 per cent occupancy.

Kelowna dropped to 33.8 per cent occupancy in March, rebounding to 79.3 per cent in August, while Penticton went from 33.8 per cent in March to 70 per cent in August.

Industry predictions say it will be four or five years before the local industry recovers to 2019 levels.

“That was a surprise, I thought maybe two or three years. We fared better than many other areas,” Tischik said.

He said even though it’s not known when events will return, Penticton bookings for this year so far “seemed to be reasonable.”

Tischik said Travel Penticton’s website traffic increased in 2019, indicating people were planning their next vacation.

“We have to be ready to pull the trigger on marketing. It’s a competitive market coming and there will be competition from other destinations,” he said.

Studies indicate 84 per cent of B.C. residents surveyed are thinking of travel to communities close to them in the near term, with 11 per cent believing it will be safe to travel internationally within a year.

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