A rainy start to the summer didn’t stop the Shuswap from enjoying a busy tourist season.
Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce general manager Corryn Grayston says preliminary statistics, gathered through the chamber’s Visitor Information Centre (VIC), indicate the city saw an increase in visitor numbers for July and August compared to last year.
“We had a very good August because the weather co-operated,” said Grayston, adding the city may have seen even stronger numbers in July if not for the weather.
Regionally, Shuswap Tourism’s official statistics for Summer 2016 are not yet compiled, but the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Stephanie Goodey said conversations with local tourism businesses suggest it was a successful summer.
The VIC also tracks where tourists are coming from and what activities they express interest in. Grayston said plenty of Alberta residents visited the Shuswap despite a downturn in their economy. There were also more Americans than usual.
Grayston said numerous visitors from Northern B.C. and the Lower Mainland visited the area as usual, but an uncommon number of them expressed interest in relocating to the area.
“There were a lot of people around kicking tires, seeing what’s out here, looking to retire primarily,but early retirement, and families wondering what the scene is like here for relocation,” Grayston said.
Along with the aquatic activities that draw many tourists to the Shuswap, Grayston said a greater number of tourists inquired at the VIC about activities including mountain biking hiking and road cycling. She said agritourism activities such as wineries are also popular.