Nelson is seeing a rise in tourism after the province moved to Phase 3 of its reopening plan. The majority of guests at The Adventure Hotel are coming from within B.C. Photo: Tyler Harper

Tourists returning to Nelson area as province slowly re-opens

Local accommodations are reporting more guests who are staying for shorter periods

One month ago Rob Little couldn’t pay someone to take a room at The Adventure Hotel.

But as tourists — yes, there are plenty of tourists coming to Nelson — start showing up, the hotel’s general manager says business is approaching what he might have described as typical in years past.

“Don’t get me wrong, we certainly haven’t made up for what’s been lost over the last three months, not even remotely close to it,” he said.

“But we are now back on pace with last year’s numbers for summertime, in the room side of things, so that’s very positive. A lot better than we thought it would be.”

Tourism across B.C. began its recovery on June 24 when the provincial government announced it was moving to Phase 3 of its restart plan that allows for non-essential travel within the province as well as visitors from Alberta and the Yukon.

When the Star spoke to Little in April, just one of the 40 rooms at the hotel was occupied. On Friday, Little said occupancy is currently up 11 per cent for the month of July over last year. He added visitors are staying for less time than they use to, and there are few bookings made for August.

“The turnovers are fairly quick. One night to night type of situation, and then moving on,” he said.

The reason for this may be that tourists are changing their travel plans to adjust for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dianna Ducs, executive director of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism (NKLT), says visitors are making last-minute bookings because of ever-changing nature of what’s allowed and what’s safe in B.C.

“They don’t want to book too far in advance because they don’t know what the future looks like,” she said. “We don’t know. In two weeks from now we could all be shut down again. So there’s that hesitation.”

Ducs said accommodations in the region, which for her runs from the southern tip of Kootenay Lake in Wynndel to north to Riondel, have reported 70-100 per cent occupancy this month.

The demographics of tourists are also changing. Ducs said people aged 60 years and older aren’t travelling because they are at a higher risk for health complications if infected by the virus. The majority of visitors, she said, are young people interested in outdoor activities.

“They’re not people coming here for arts and culture because there’s no events going on. They’re not coming here just to sit in the theatre, because that’s not happening,” she said.

“It is the more outdoor adventure-based people, so yes you are going to be seeing more people with paddle boards, mountain bikes, road biking, any kind of outdoor activity. That’s definitely more popular right now.”

Ducs said her biggest job right now is trying to communicate safety to travellers on the NKLT website. She’s also begun a new campaign called BE S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Stay Home if unwell, Measure physical distance, Appropriate behaviour is essential, Respect protocols and culture of the area and Together through smart choices everyone can enjoy the region.

“British Columbia has been voicing strongly that we need to stay home, but if you need to go somewhere be safe, and go to where there are open spaces and less spaces,” she said. “We fit that description perfectly.”

@tyler_harper |

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson’s police chief retiring

Chief Paul Burkart has given notice for the spring of 2021

Fresh local food for families goal of new West Kootenay EcoSociety program

Produce from three local organic farms will be delivered weekly to 54 low income families

LETTER: Park road only fit for a tank

From reader Sheila McCormack

LETTER: Three observations about Nelson

From reader Brian Zacharias

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read