Tourism operators in Campbell River say they’re booking up fast this summer and as a result hotels rooms are a hot commodity.
“We’re seeing occupancy rates over 82 per cent consistently over the year, which is about 11 per cent over the provincial average and we saw a six per cent increase over 2017, so we’re definitely feeling a bit of a squeeze,” said Destination Campbell River Executive Director Kirsten Soder.
They’re coming mainly from Europe, Australia, and the United States and whale watching is one of the biggest draws.
Business at Discovery Marine Safaris is already up 15 per cent this year.
“I’m happy that finally, the word is out that Campbell River has so much to offer that people are actually considering going whale watching here because the wildlife is right at our doorstep,” said Heike Garton of Discovery Marine Safaris.
Dolphins Resort has been entertaining tourists from around the world since the 1940s. The rooms still have a rustic charm and the views are quintessential Vancouver Island.
“There’s a lot of demand for our accommodation this coming summer and the summer is often very busy here, although we’ve noticed it’s gotten busier and busier over the last few years,” said Dolphins Resort General Manager Paul Dowler.
Tourists are also looking for ways to see the sights by bike or kayak, and Island Joyrides is seeing an increased interest in Campbell River.
“Cycling is picking up in general so I know those tours are going to be busier but kayaking is this whole new angle and way to showcase Campbell River and I anticipate it getting quite busy,” said Island Joyrides owner Laurel Cronk.
Visitors can then enjoy a chef-cooked meal prepared in a wood-fired pizza oven right on the shores of the Campbell River.
The world and even Vancouver Islanders are rediscovering Campbell River.
We’re lesser known certainly that some of the other destinations on the island and in the province,” said Laurel Sliskovic, a guide with Island Joyrides.
“And people are kind of rediscovering it,” continued Soder. “It’s not the Campbell River we used to be.”