Tourism numbers in Vernon are down anywhere from 5 to 10 percent this month, which is being blamed on issues with wildfire smoke.
However, the city’s tourism manager Angeline Chew says it’s an issue affecting much of Western Canada.
“Our partners that are indoors are doing very well, our hotels are fairly strong, but overall, we’re pacing similar to last year or a little bit down, and last year we had a record year,” Chew tells Beach Radio News.
Chew says they’ve been suggesting indoor attractions for visitors concerned about the air quality.
“Compared to our neighbors in the south, we are not having similar challenges. Yes we do have smoke, and we’re very honest about having smoke, but we do say there is smoke right now from BC to Manitoba.”
She says to help-out struggling tourism businesses, an extra 25-thousand dollars has been added to a 50-50 fund to support marketing outside the Thompson Okanagan region.
“Vernon has been fairly lucky. We’ve had some — up until this last weekend — very minor cancellations with our hotel partners. We have had more cancellations this weekend, but we’re still looking at maybe between 5 and 10 percent,” adds Chew.