Surge in Kelowna COVID-19 cases hasn't hurt hotel industry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Surge in Kelowna COVID-19 cases hasn't hurt hotel industry

July 25, 2020 - 7:30 AM

As news spreads that Kelowna is a hot spot for COVID-19 some visitors have been cancelling their trips, but the overall impact has been minimal so far.

“There have been cancellations but they’ve been offset by similar demands so they haven’t been too impactful,” Dale Sivucha, general manager of the Coast Capri Hotel told iNFOnews.ca.

While overall business has been down as much as 40 per cent at times this summer, he expects his hotel will be full this weekend.

Over at Hotel Zed, in the heart of downtown Kelowna across from City Park, they’ve basically been sold out every night, front desk steward Robert Kilpatrick said. While there have been some cancellations because of the COVID-19 news, others have been quick to fill the cancelled rooms, he said.

READ MORE: Dr. Bonnie Henry rules out Kelowna-specific restrictions but new orders coming

Over at the Delta Grand Okanagan, they’ve had 10 to 15 cancellations over each of the last couple of days, front desk clear Emma, who would not give her last name, said. That hotel is running at 70 to 80 per cent capacity on the weekends but only at 50 to 60 per cent during the week, she said.

Last year, these hotels would have been near full capacity all summer but Sivucha at the Coast Capri cautioned last July and August were record years for Kelowna hotels that ran at about 95 per cent occupancy. That followed two slow summers where tourists stayed away because of massive forest fires in B.C. and the associated smoke.

In terms of how the rest of the summer is shaping up, that’s just too hard to predict as people are booking on much shorter notice now than in the past.

“Anecdotally, hotels are saying pacing is obviously different this year because consumer booking is unpredictable,” Chris Shauf, director of marketing and communication for Tourism Kelowna, told iNFOnews.ca. “They’re making decisions in shorter windows.”

Kelowna’s occupancy rate for June was only 36.5 per cent, Shauf said, compared to 79.3 per cent in 2019.

Statistics on the Destination B.C. website currently show the first three months of this year.

Kamloops and Kelowna had an occupancy rates of just under 50 per cent in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Kamloops that was a 12.7 per cent increase over 2019, while Kelowna’s rate was a drop of 9.2 per cent. By the end of March, both cities had occupancy rates closer to 30 per cent which was more than 40 per cent below the previous year.

Penticton’s rate in February only hit 33.8 per cent but that was still a 17 per cent increase over 2019. It only fell 3.5 per cent in March but that translated into a drop of 37.4 per cent from the previous year. Vernon is not on the list.

According to provincewide data from Destination B.C., occupancy rates peaked at 65.5 per cent in February then dropped to a low of 16.5 per cent in April, a decline of 52.7 per cent from 2019. May saw occupancy rates creep up to 21.8 per cent but that was still 52 per cent below the previous year.


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