The B.C. Day long weekend drew flocks of visitors to the valley, with many of the resorts and golf courses in the area saying they were packed with customers from Friday, August 2nd through to Monday, August 5th.
Visitor numbers were more or less the same as during last year’s ultra-busy B.C. Day long weekend, according to the visitor information centres in both Invermere and Radium, while visitation was up from last year at Panorama Mountain Village.
“It was an excellent long weekend for us,” said Panorama marketing co-ordinator Jamie Hurschler. “We had a lot of people out, especially on the Eurobungy. And our new archery program has been really popular with guests.”
According to Mr. Hurschler, Panorama welcomed a lot of day visitors over the long weekend and also opened its new discovery centre, which gives visitors information on what’s new at the mountain resort).
“We were completely full in terms of our accommodation. It was better than (B.C. Day long weekend) last year,” he said.
The Invermere Visitor Centre, which has two locations (at the crossroads and at a kiosk downtown), saw exactly the same number of groups in total as it did last year. The crossroads location had a total of 385 groups visiting Friday through Monday, while the downtown kiosk saw 205 groups. While the crossroads location had slightly more groups of visitors — 14 — than last year, the downtown kiosk had 14 fewer groups of visitors than it did the previous year.
“We’d like to see the numbers increasing, but overall it was a good weekend,” said Columbia Valley visitor centre manager Kathy Tyson.
Even though the numbers were the same from one year to the next, Ms. Tyson said Sunday in particular seemed bustling in downtown Invermere, perhaps because of the first walking version of the annual Tour of the Arts.
“I was down there helping out with a booth and couldn’t help but notice how busy it seemed,” she said.
The Radium Hot Spring Visitors’ Centre had exactly the same number of visitors stop in — 1,983 from Friday through Monday — as it did last year, according to Radium Hot Springs visitor centre councillor Morgan Hendry.
“We’re dead even with last year,” said Mr. Hendry.
Although the numbers did not increase, last year was also extremely busy, so tourism-related businesses had a good long weekend, he said.
“It was definitely packed,” said Mr. Hendry. “The market was certainly a big hit.”
The Radium community markets attracted 2,000 people — about 1,000 on Friday night and another 1,000 on Saturday, he said.
“It was absolutely chock-a-block here at Copper Point Resort,” said Copper Point general manager Amanda Robinson, adding the resort had between 400 and 500 guests each night for the weekend.
“It was full, full, full and busy, busy, busy. It was great,” said Ms. Robinson.
Copper Point’s golf courses also did well during the long weekend, according to the courses’ general manager Brian Schaal.
“We were jammed solid. It was busy,” said Mr. Schaal, adding Copper Point’s two courses — the Point and the Ridge — saw 500 golfers on Saturday, more than 500 on Sunday and almost 500 on Monday.
“It was a great weekend, one of our best ever,” he said.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has record sales in golf and retail during the long weekend, according to the resort’s vice president of sales and marketing, Fiona Cull.
“We are delighted with how the business was,” said Ms. Cull, adding the lodge was full, the RV park was full and the campground was full.
“We had just a fantastic weekend. It was great,” she said.
The guests at Fairmont for the weekend were a mix of returning long-time customers and new customers, and there were a few weddings at the resort, she said.