With COVID-19 case numbers plunging in B.C., lockdowns a thing of the past, and talk of the border opening up soon, people are getting ready to get out of town.
“I’m very excited to see my grandmother,” said one Victoria woman.
“I’ll be able to go to Montreal where I’m from for a couple of weeks so I’m excited for that,” said one man.
While many here are excited about the possibility of heading out of town, others across Canada are getting ready to head to Vancouver Island.
Tourists coming to Victoria looking to stay in either hotels or Airbnb’s, may be in a tight spot.
This past year, three hotels were bought by the Province to house those experiencing homelessness.
At the same time, with travel not an option in the pandemic, many Airbnb’s flipped to long-term rentals.
All this is leaving a bit of a hole in the market.
“As long as there’s new stuff in the pipeline, we’re going to be ok,” said Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria.
While accommodation could be tight this year, investors are seeing Victoria as a market they need to be in.
Right now there are three hotel development applications in front of city hall, and many more being considered.
Greater victoria’s tourism board says if those go through in the next few years, it should balance things out.
Meanwhile, full recovery for the whole industry is likely going to be a multi-year process.
“It’ll take two to three years. That’s what most experts are predicting. Because again this will require the full reopening of the international travel system, the customs, borderlines, global tour operators,” said Nursey.
The federal government is expected to ease some travel restrictions later this summer.