The Fernie Chamber of Commerce.

Low Canadian dollar causes spike in visitors

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce released the visitor numbers for the month of June, which shows an increase of visitors to the Fernie area.

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce released the visitor numbers for the month of June, which shows an increase of visitors to the Fernie area. The report included numbers for the Highway 3 Visitor Centre and the downtown Visitor Centre, located in the Museum.

As the report states, the Highway 3 Visitors Centre saw a drastic increase in visitors, 42 per cent, when compared to June 2015. A total of 1,125 parties stopped in June, equating to a total of 1,886 individual visitors. The Visitor Centre was open a total of 30 days, compared to 26 days in June of the previous year.

At the Museum Visitor Centre, there was a slight decrease in visitors – 0.8 per cent – when compared to May of 2015.

At both locations, the majority of visitors were said to be from Alberta, followed by visitors from the local area.

Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce, Patty Vadnais, credits the increase to a low Canadian dollar.

“The Visitor Information Centre on the highway saw almost 40 per cent more visitors in July 2016 over July 2015. Historically, the highest percentage of visitors are from Alberta. This is holding true this summer, and we are seeing an increase in B.C. and other Canada visits as well,” she said. “The assumption could be made that the low Canadian dollar is encouraging Canadians to travel in Canada rather than travelling abroad.”

According to Vadnais, most hotels are noticing the increase in visitors and are pleased about visitor traffic.

“As I speak with local hotels and restaurants, they are pleased with the visitor traffic in town. Hotels are at near capacity most nights and there wasn’t an empty room in town on the August long weekend,” she said.

I am also being told by some hotels that they are seeing a lot more walk-in traffic this year. It should be noted too that the Fernie RV Park has increased the number of campers staying in town significantly. It has been a great addition to town.”