Some optimism for B.C.’s hard-hit tourism industry

In a recent report, one of Canada’s top economists said there is pent-up demand for the country’s tourism offerings, with many Canadians looking to spend money they have saved over the past year.

After an extraordinarily difficult year, things are looking up for B.C.’s tourism industry. 

In a recent report, one of Canada’s top economists said there is pent-up demand for the country’s tourism offerings, with many Canadians looking to spend money they have saved over the past year. 

article continues below

Jean-Francois Perrault, chief economist for Scotiabank, recently told the the CBC that Canadians who managed to save money during the pandemic will likely spend it in Canada’s tourism sector. 

Perrault added destinations such as British Columbia and Alberta will see particularly strong demand and the industry may be faced with labour shortages, having bled thousands of jobs during the prolonged period of travel restrictions. 

Tourism Kamloops CEO Beverley DeSantis noted products such as golf and wine tours are already seeing high demand for the summer season. 

“People are going to want those outdoor experiences where they don’t have to worry about a lot of protocols,” said DeSantis, who currently chairs the Tourism Industry Association of BC’s policy committee. 

DeSantis agreed there is a pent-up demand for tourism, but said some providers, such as tour operators, will have a more difficult recovery than others. Such businesses are more affected by social distancing requirements, she explained. 

She added that human resources is a challenge for the industry, noting well-intentioned government programs aimed at helping out-of-work Canadians have added to labour problems. 

DeSantis said she would like to see a wind-down of such programs and a continuation of the federal government’s wage subsidy program, which effectively subsidizes the wages of employees of hard-hit businesses. 

“We’ve kind of created a disincentive for people to come back to work [in certain areas],” she said, adding that hospitality jobs are typically at the lower end of the pay scale. 

DeSantis said jobs openings for hospitality positions are generating few applications.  

“The wind down of some of these subsidy programs, I think will help us to reopen,” she said. Because right now, we really do have a people problem as far as human resources go.” 

DeSantis added a smooth rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine across Canada is critical to bringing about a strong summer. 

“If we’re not vaccinated, then effectively, people will not move around,” she said. “At the crux of everything opening up is that our government provides confidence with the vaccination rollout for our communities.”

Tourism Sun Peaks president and CEO Arlene Schieven believes the resort is well positioned to take advantage of the pent-up demand. 

She noted the resort’s core summer attractions — such as hiking, golf and mountain biking — are outdoor-based, making them safe and attractive to clients. 

Schieven added some travellers will be looking for relatively quiet destinations when compared to traditionally popular B.C. attractions, such as the Okanagan and Whistler. 

“We are looking forward to welcoming summer visitors back to Sun Peaks and are waiting for the health guidelines to help guide our marketing messaging, as well as our target markets,” Schieven said. “We are hopeful that we will be able to provide small events, animation and the Sunday Market Day to round out the robust summer activity offerings in Sun Peaks.”

© Kamloops This Week



Question of the Week POLL

Housing prices are soaring. If you were looking to buy, what price range could you afford?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar

Help Us Help Kamloops. Support Local Media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kamloops This Week is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Kamloops This Week has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time .

NEW: For every donation of $25 or greater, we will offer a digital advertising package to the local non-profit group of your choice.

Click on for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.