The Parksville Qualicum Beach region saw a slight decline in hotel occupancy in the summer of 2019, according to Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden.
Occupancy in PQB hotels during August of 2019 was down from 89.8% in 2018 to 85.4% in 2019.
Hotel occupancy is one of several indicators of tourism, and refers to the percentage of hotel rooms occupied during a specific time period, not counting rooms that are unavailable for renovation or other reasons.
Burden says that this decline is consistent with an overall slowing of growth in B.C.’s tourism sector, but that tourism is still very strong overall.
“Despite the minor dips in occupancy the industry is still very strong. We had successive increases in the past few years and the investments by Canada to celebrate 150 years in 2017 saw significant increases in visitation and travel,” said Burden.
“The decreases in 2018 and 2019 have not reached pre-2017 levels.”
Overall occupancy in B.C. hotels was down by a slim margin in 2019 compared to 2018, with August 2019 reporting 86% occupancy, down from 86.6% of the previous year.
August is the peak month for tourism in Parksville Qualicum Beach, with short-term rental rooms netting an average nightly rate of $233 in 2018, according to reports by Destination B.C.
Hotel occupancy numbers don’t tell the entire story. Burden notes that an interesting variation in statistics is an increase in ferry traffic. For all major Island routes, B.C. Ferries reported an increase of 0.4% in passenger vehicles and a 6.4% increase in over-height vehicles such as motorhomes and trailers.
Burden says the chamber is planning ahead for events that will provide a draw for future and returning visitors, such as the Canada Day celebrations and others.
“We are looking at a couple of initiatives with the city to celebrate Parksville’s 75th Anniversary and of course we will continue to ensure visitors to the visitor centre receive a warm welcome and a great first impression of the region,” said Burden.
Burden also commended the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association for their continued work in bringing tourists to the area.
“They do an excellent job and are always working on a variety of initiatives to promote this region,” said Burden.
Nationally, Canadian tourism generates 745,300 jobs and contributes $102.5 billion to the economy. According to Destination Canada, 2018 was the best year for Canadian tourism on record with international arrivals attracting 21.13 million people to the country.