KELOWNA - Although some local businesses are struggling this summer, hotel occupancy is up from last year.
According to Tourism Kelowna, a nearly 5.5 per cent increase in hotel rooms were booked in May over May, 2016, up to 73.8 per cent from 70 per cent occupancy. The numbers for June should be out soon.
“It’s a good sign, because last year was a beautiful spring,” said Chris Shauf, Director of Marketing and Communications at Tourism Kelowna. “Some businesses have told us they’re having a tremendous year, but others have definitely had challenges.”
Due to this years’ flooding and high water levels that continued through most of July, seasonal businesses depending on the lake have had to delay openings, or change their offerings.
“When water levels in Okanagan Lake were high, we know that had a direct and significant impact on water and beach-based businesses,” said Shauf. “It’s safe to say that 2017 so far has been a challenging year for some tourism businesses in Kelowna.”
Shauf says he remains optimistic for the rest of the summer, but Tourism Kelowna will continue to inform and relay challenges to visitors.
“A lot of times people travel to a destination with a general idea of what they want to do, but sometimes weather indicates they should be doing something else.”
At the moment, Shauf says his team at Tourism Kelowna is telling visitors that on certain days, the smoke in the air due to the wildfires, may affect the ability to do outdoor activities.
However, lucky for tourists, and Okanagan residents, the Valley has lots to offer. Some indoor activities he recommends for tourists are visiting the many wineries in the region, as well as experiencing the farm to table restaurant scene Kelowna.
“We want visitors to know local tourism businesses appreciate business from both residents and visitors, and it’s important to get out and support them,” says Shauf. “Local businesses remain open and continue to deliver memorable experiences for everyone.”
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