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Rocky Mountaineer can't find staff to meet tourist demand

Image Credit: Facebook/Rocky Mountaineer

Tourists are flocking back to a luxury train ride that carries its riders through B.C. mountains.

Two of Rocky Mountaineer's three Canadian routes stop in Kamloops, and the train is bringing nearly as many tourists through the Thompson valley as it did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're trending on about, I think, 85 per cent of our pre-COVID levels, but bookings continue," Rocky Mountaineer vice president of people and culture Brian Good said. 

He said the company could easily exceed 2019 bookings, but more ridership means the train company needs more employees to match the demand.

READ MORE: Canadian employers willing to hire workers without direct experience, survey says

Good said about 75% of the company's seasonal workers came back this season and it has about as many employees as it did before the pandemic, but the company is looking to hire around 50 more employees as demand grows, and most of those openings are hospitality positions.

Much of the hospitality industry in B.C. is looking for workers, especially restaurants. While restaurants have been forced to close because of an employment shortage, Good said Rocky Mountaineer has been "fortunate" and hasn't faced the same shortages.

"We decided this year before the season we would do waves of hiring," he said. "You can easily over hire or not provide enough work."

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Kamloops businesses have seen a boost in foot traffic as train tourists stop in the Tournament Capital, according to the downtown business association.

The train tour stops in Kamloops on two of its routes and both connect to Vancouver. One turns north to Jasper and the other travels to Banff.

The 2022 season will be Rocky Mountaineer's first full season since 2019.

READ MORE: Rocky Mountaineer rolling through Kamloops again


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