Business booms for Vancouver Island outdoor stores as provincial campgrounds book up

Business booms for Vancouver Island outdoor stores as provincial campgrounds book up
WatchThousands of people are filling up provincial campgrounds, booking them up for months and as Rebecca Lawrence reports, businesses are reaping the rewards.

The B.C. government is urging people to keep their travels within the province this year due to COVID-19 and thousands of people are filling up provincial campgrounds.

“I could see everybody wanting to be outdoors because they’ve been trapped indoors for so long,” said Mike Burger, who camped out in the Goldstream Provincial Park on Sunday.

With many heading out into the wilderness, business is booming for outdoor shops like Robinsons Outdoor Store in downtown Victoria.

“June was exceptional for us, people are more keen to go out and hike and fish and do things they used to do,” said the store’s co-owner Matt King.

Tents, dehydrated meals, and sleeping bags are all flying off the shelves as people head into the wilderness amid the pandemic.

And although sales are up, that is partly due to their previous closure.

“I think its more concentrated over a period of time. So instead of selling over March, April and May, it kind of all came at one time,” King says. “Every day has been really busy.”

British Columbians aren’t just choosing tents for an overnight escape as RV’s, trailers and fifth-wheels are gaining traction, selling more faster than normal.

“We’ve been very busy, we’ve been running out of inventory,” said Jim Sinclair of the Galaxy RV in Langford. “Prior to this we were at 15 or 20 sales per month and we sold 45 out of this location alone.”

But what about booking the campsites themselves?

“It was haywire. Everything crashed, it was a panic,” said camper Dawn Hamel.

The Discover Camping website reopened May 25 and was overwhelmed with campers trying to snag a spot after spending months at home.

“If you want to book in a provincial campground, it was before 7 a.m.,” said Hamel. “It was two hours of frustration. I had two devices going, at every point, it crashed.”

“I eventually gave up and called the 1-800 number which took a long time to get through and found out a specific site we wanted,” said Goldstream camper Danielle Sherman. “When the site was available and set an alarm that morning and I did get it.”

When going throughout the Goldstream campground it may look as though there are many available spaces but in reality, they’re all reserved and will remain that way all Summer long because the campground is booked full all the way through to August.

For now, there are still some available spots and if you want one, you better get booking.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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