Barkerville Impacted by Wildfires
Prince George, B.C.- The wildfires in the Cariboo and Kamloops Fire centres are having a significant impact on tourism in B.C., and Barkerville is a prime example.
Mata Lange of Destination B.C. says the number of visitors to Barkerville since July 7th is down 54% compared to the same period last year “That has resulted in a 50% drop in net revenue for the same period.”
Lange says she is sharing that information because Barkerville is a draw for the entire area “If Barkerville is down, surrounding privately owned business that provide accommodation, food, hospitality and other activities will also be down and those impacts will be much harder on those private entities.”
She says in the Kootenay-Rockies, 32% of businesses are reporting loss of potential revenue due to visitor perceptions “In July alone, cancellations at one resort in the Kootenay -Rockies, resulted in the loss of approximately 100 thousand dollars in revenues because of the perceived risk of fire. This is a pretty serious loss for any business, especially during the summer months.”
She says the Thompson Okanagan region is seeing 47% of businesses, reporting “business interruption.” Lange says data from businesses in the fire zones themselves is still being collected, but she is very concerned about the impact on the tourism industry in B.C. “We are very concerned. Just looking at the volume of visitation and the volume of trips that are taking by British Columbian and Alberta residents alone, we think there will be a significant impact. ”
Lange says many areas remain accessible and are free from fire activity, but cancellations continue because of misinformation.