Visitor, tourist and worker traffic into and out of the region is on the rise, resulting in a four-per-cent increase in travellers using Kamloops Airport this year.
That amount is higher than a two-per-cent hike in global air travel for the year and above a generally flat North American and European market, airport manager Fred Legace said Wednesday.
“We’re seeing generally higher growth than others, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s all good news.”
The latest airport numbers were released Wednesday along with statistics for the month of November, which also showed a jump in travellers.
Last month, 22,445 people passed through Fulton Field compared to the 21,503 people who used it in November 2011. As for year-to-date travellers, 249,337 have visited the airport from January to the end of November compared to the 238,394 during the same time last year.
Legace said the city has been well promoted by Tourism Kamloops, which accounts for much of the increase. There are also more people living in town who commute to work in Northern Alberta.
But Legace believes Kamloops is also getting good word of mouth from visitors, which can account for the number of people coming and going, he said.
Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre owner Ron Mundi said his establishment on Rogers Way is busy, so much so that he’s investing money in renovations not only to the hotel, but the conference centre.
“Definitely the number (of guests) is on the increase,” he said, adding tourism and business is a big lure for people.
The busy ski season is about to begin, which promises even more people will venture to the region. Tourism Sun Peaks president Christopher Nicolson said accommodations for December and January are up five to six per cent compared to last year and numbers are looking good into March.
“It’s a January that’s stronger than what we’ve seen and, fortunately, it also continues into February and March,” said Nicolson. “Each month is pacing ahead.”
Nicolson said the prime snow conditions the mountain is experiencing are a big lure for skiers.