Thompson-Okanagan tourism visitors show early fall spike

Tourism fighting way back

Thompson-Okanagan tourism operators have slowly climbed back from the depths of the pandemic shutdown.

Perhaps fuelled by an extended summer and warm early fall weather, the number of overnight domestic visitors actually exceeded last year in early September and early October.

That compares to drops of more than 80 per cent in April, when hospitality businesses were closed.

Since then, visitor numbers have slowly climbed back, according to data released by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.

While down about 30 per cent for much of the summer, the fall peaks show an encouraging trend as the industry has adapted to COVID-19 and provincially mandated safety precautions.

TOTA's 'Friday Fast Facts' give "a snapshot of how the tourism industry is being impacted as a result of COVID-19 and an overview of how things are changing as we begin moving through these first stages of recovery," CE) Glenn Mandziuk said in a press release.

"Now more than ever we understand the importance of providing timely data that will assist (members) in making informed decisions, understanding how industry and consumers are responding, both in the Thompson Okanagan and the province as a whole, and that will assist in making adjustments to how you do business."

The latest figures show spikes in both the first weeks of September and October.

As well, 826 business have registered for the Thompson Okanagan Resiliency Program, and there have been 10,738 points of contact with stakeholders.

But, it's not all rosy news. TOTA says two out of every five businesses report needing additional funding outside of what's available to survive the next six months.

Consumer behaviour stats during the latest period show 92 per cent trust the recommendation of friends or family on decision making, and 69 per cent cite cleanliness and health measures as critical in a brand's crisis response.

The insights come directly from tourism stakeholders, via telephone and online surveys, and data from Environics Analytics.


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