Vancouver Island Campgrounds, Hotel Booking As People Avoid Forest Fires
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As growing numbers look to Vancouver Island for their summer camping trips – rather than to the fire-riddled interior of British Columbia – a major tourism claims that many could have problems if they haven’t booked well in advance.
Saying he’s not surprised that many British Columbians are changing their travel plans, Tourism Vancouver Island President Anthony Everett said many campsites and RV parks on the island are already full .
“It doesn’t surprise me that people are looking elsewhere for their vacation plans. We knew that when coming out of the pandemic, or going through this pandemic, these days people take longer trips. If they are planning a trip to the island, the Gulf Islands, or even the Sunshine Coast, they should definitely call ahead and find out what is available, ”he explained.
“Forest fires will have this effect of displacing people. Reservations are getting stronger every day here.
Everett says some parts of the island appear to be more “full” than others, with the west side and areas like Victoria seeing more demand.
“Campsites have been booked for a long time now, so the campsite is quite full. I even heard that in the north of the island, the accommodation is quite full, ”he added. “Everything is changing, people are traveling now, things are getting ready. “
Gone are the days when you could get off a ferry and just find a free place to stay, he notes, adding that while the number of domestic trips is still a little lower than last year, they increase.
“It started with a lot of locals – it had been going on for a while, British Columbians, obviously, Alberta. We even see people coming back from Ontario to Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox Valley. All of these things are happening with Canadian travelers, ”he explained. “What we’re all waiting and waiting for is really to understand the additional implications of opening up the US border and then international travel, because that’s what’s really going to help tourism businesses.”
Everett notes that activity providers, such as those in sport fishing or whale watching, are still struggling. He hopes that the resumption of international travel will help this sector.
It has been a difficult year for the hospitality and tourism industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everett says even before, staffing issues were widespread and only worsened with the health crisis.
While many businesses are eager to welcome visitors, he says people shouldn’t be surprised if some stores and services are only open part of the day or closed parts of the week completely.
The interior of British Columbia continues to face dozens of wildfires, many of which have forced people to leave their homes or prepare to do so in recent weeks.
The hot and dry conditions only added to the challenges.
While many communities in the Southern Interior are still ready to welcome visitors, a number of local mayors are urge tourists to plan ahead and to ensure that they do not occupy spaces that might otherwise be necessary for evacuees, if possible.