No Details Yet on Wildfire Impact to Tourism Revenue
Prince George, B.C.- Destination B.C. continues to try and spread the word that not all of BC is in flames, but has yet to provide an estimate on how many tourism dollars have been lost because of the fires.
“That is information is still being collected” says Maya Lange, Vice President Marketing for Destination B.C.
Lange says, some areas of the Province, such as Vancouver Island, are seeing an increase in tourist traffic as visitors revise their plans and head to other destinations within the province. “The majority of the cancellations have been by British Columbians, or Albertans” says Lange. “Although there has been an uptick it hasn’t offset the volume of cancellations.”
She says cancellations have been primarily in the affected areas, but other regions, such as the Okanagan, have also lost bookings.”There are also businesses that have been impacted because of access issues, road or highway closures and those who have been affected by misinformation, leading people to believe an area is under fire, or there are air quality issues. Only 10% of the Cariboo Chilcotin is in a wildfire situation, but it still means there is still a vast area that can be travelled.”
Lange says Destination B.C. has launched an aggressive marketing campaign to get the word out that B.C. is a great place to visit. “Marketing activities that have already taken place and are planned are under an ‘Explore BC’ program that we have in the spring and fall, that we have to drive shoulder season visitation and we have increased those efforts, in terms of print, editorial, broadcast opportunities, as well as social media and bill boards as well, just communicating that B.C. is open to explore and where to get accurate information.”
On Friday, the Province announced $200 thousand dollars would be made available to Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism Association for recovery efforts ( see previous story)