Tourism officials are hoping fires elsewhere in BC don’t keep visitors from coming to Vernon this long weekend.
Tourism Manager Ange Chew says they are partnering with other Okanagan communities to get a positive message out to tourists.
“We are using social media hashtags and social media user generated content to show that we are open, and that we have nice weather, and blue skies, and a hashtag that says okay to play.”
Chew says there is a perception among some tourists that the fires are restricting access to Vernon.
“What highways are open and not, and there’s confusion if visitors are able to get to Vernon, and we are accessible from the Lower Mainland, Alberta and Washington.”
Chew says the fires have impacted visitor counts in July for most areas, but it’s not known by how much.
“We think we will be on par, or slightly below, in June, but we are hearing about a softer July. Destinations in the south are saying the fires, the perception the roads are closed, and that all of BC is on fire versus just portions, I hear they are experiencing more challenges than Vernon.”
She says local hotels, motels, B & B’s, and campsites are 90 percent full for the long weekend.
“But there are still some availabilities. We are just busy because it’s a beautiful time to be in Vernon,” says Chew.