If you’re in the tourism industry this May long weekend is far different than those of the past.

Bookings are down dramatically and the outlook for the remainder of the year is anything but certain.

At the Surfside RV Resort in Parksville their clubhouse is closed, pools are empty, and nearly all of the parks 65 rentable pads are available.

Usually, the May long weekend sees the resort’s first members’ get-together of the year.

“They have a salmon barbecue and there are hundreds of people all over this area and so by far the slowest spring on record for us,” said Shawn Bennett, manager of Surfside RV Resort.

And that’s saying something, as the resort has been in operation 28 years.

Of the parks 280 sites this weekend, members occupy just 20 percent.

On June 1, Surfside RV Resort will start accepting reservations even though they still have questions about protocols.

“We’re, like a lot of resorts, sitting back waiting for guidelines and we’ll be following best practices as set out by the government and health authority as well as British Columbia’s Campgrounds and Lodgings Association,” said Bennett.

Farther along the beach, Ocean Sands Resort is also feeling the massive drop off.

“We’re probably at 10 percent of what we’d normally be at,” said Darcy Stephenson, Ocean Sands Resort manager.

The beach in front of their resort would usually be hopping this weekend, but once COVID-19 arrived bookings dried up.

“Of the existing reservations that we had we’ve had 100 percent cancellation rate between March 23 and the end of April,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson says what’s been saving the resort, are those who were renting eight units on a monthly basis, before COVID struck and decided to wait it out here.

As for what the summer holds, both resort managers are expecting people will start booking again once COVID restrictions start to lift.

“More locals than people travelling long distance but I’m still optimistic it’s going to be a good summer. People will want to get out and enjoy the beaches and there’s lots of room out on the beach to distance,” said Stephenson.

And those staycations will help fill the currently empty rooms this summer.

Kendall Hanson