The Fernie welcome sign on the north end of town. (File photo)

The Fernie welcome sign on the north end of town. (File photo)

Tourism numbers edge back up on 2020: Tourism Fernie

The industry saw improvements on 2020 and may even have had a better summer than 2019

Not all the numbers are in yet, but data up to the end of September suggests that tourism in the Elk Valley is on the rebound following the hammering it took in 2020.

According to Tourism Fernie, accommodation revenues – which are used as an inexact took to calculate tourism numbers – were up by 20 percent in 2021 up to the end of September 2021 compared to the same time in 2020.

Hotel and short term room revenues in Fernie were $16,747,267 up to the end of September.

Executive director of Tourism Fernie, Jikke Gyorki, said that while those numbers were up on 2020, they were still down by 13 percent compared to pre-COVID.

Zooming in on seasonal numbers, Gyorki said that June – September numbers looked better for this year, even pipping 2019.

“Based on how best the government tries to reconcile monthly numbers, June to September for 2021 was up 30 percent from 2020 and 2 percent up from 2019.”

Gyorki said that while the industry was busier this year, it faced more challenges thanks to a ‘labour crunch’.

“Many (operators) felt money was left on the table caused by labour shortage and having reduced hours/operations.”

She said that while the labour crunch was an issue, “patience and kindness will continue to be the motto.”

She said there was a light at the end of the tunnel, but things were returning to normal slower than hoped.

“Once we get more people/ youth vaccinated and we get through flu season we should be fully open and unrestricted.”

Looking forward into winter 2021-22, Gyorki said the tourism industry was “definitely not back to normal.

“It will still take to next season and the one after, especially with the international audience. It is a different winter season with different situations (delta, vaccination rates, restrictions etc) but it is getting to the end and will return to a place without these restrictions anymore.”

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scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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Tourism