Kamloops Accommodation Association faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel restricted and meetings and events cancelled. Association president Angela Tasker noted a 30 per cent ($18-million) drop in local hospitality revenues in the first year and 20 per cent decline the second year. Tasker oversees sales and marketing for Ron Mundi’s 10 hotels, including two in Kamloops, and recently came to lead the association.
One saving grace during the pandemic was pipeline and Royal Inland Hospital construction workers. Tasker said the pipeline brought hundreds of workers to the city for long-term stays which “really helped” hotels and motel occupancies. Tasker said evacuees during floods and fires also stayed in hotels and motels.
“It’s not how we want to survive, but it did help us survive,” she said, noting the timing worked out in a strange way with fewer leisure travellers and need for places to stay coupled with low rental vacancies.
The association connected with its members digitally by email, a quarterly newsletter and online annual general meetings. The Municipal Regional District Tax was renewed and Tasker said it is important to have support from Tourism Kamloops as communities compete in the future for tourism dollars. Tasker said she is optimistic in 2022. She said corporate and sports travellers are coming back, with the return of meetings, conferences and sports tournaments. Tasker said sports tournaments are particularly helpful for the hospitality sector in the off-season. Tour companies are also starting again. Rocky Mountaineer, which draws international travellers, intends to operate this season.
“They’re running full-capacity, which is amazing,” Tasker said.