Travel Penticton is hoping to bring in more tourists throughout the winter

Tourists still arriving

A tourism update from Travel Penticton gave a detailed summer review and outlined how Penticton and BC were fairing in the hardships of COVID-19, still seeing travellers come in, despite the smoke.  

“Certainly with Covid it's been an interesting one,” said Thom Tischik, executive director for Travel Penticton, during a presentation to Penticton council on Tuesday. 

Travel Penticton’s visitors' centre next to the Peach has been a "great situation," according to Tischik, allowing them to connect with visitors throughout the summer. 

“At the end of the summer, the demographic of visitors changed like a light switch, from being family and younger people. Now what I call my age, people that are a little more mature for travellers coming in.” 

“Even with the smoke, we're getting in the neighbourhood of 70 people a day. People are still traveling, places are booked.” 

Tischik reported that because the Christie Mountain Wildfire was contained very quickly, it did not keep away tourists. Travel Penticton was able to “mitigate the media hype and damage that could have happened with it.”

The organization also shared their data from total night stays in BC, comparing July 2019 versus July 2020. Overall the province is down 23 per cent from last year and the Thompson Okanagan area is down 17 per cent.

Occupancy rates for Penticton are down by 15 percent from last year, sitting at 68 per cent compared to 83. Prices in hotel rooms didn’t fall by much, sitting at $184.63 for an average daily rate compared to last year’s $198.58.

Overall, BC Travel is down by 19 per cent compared to July of last year.

Although the campgrounds in the area are absolutely packed, according to Tischik, but “what we don’t have this year is the European travellers,” which often help boost fall tourism. 

“Our cash flow which is normally strongest this time of year, is fairly grim.”

Travel Penticton plans to base their decision for promotion and advertising on what happens with COVID 19 and what stage the province is at.

Plans include promoting fall and winter activities to BC residents in Thompson-Okanagan and Vancouver as well as move to collaborate with Apex Mountain resort, Nickel Plate, Chute Lake Lodge and other suppliers for getaway vacations. 

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