Tourism talk in Parksville Qualicum Beach: ‘The best July ever’

Weather, improved economy play role in what looks like a good season for local operators

The season is weeks from ending and there are no solid numbers to reference, but those in the know say this has been a good year for tourism operators in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

In fact, according to Blain Sepos, some are saying last month was “the best July ever.”

Sepos, the executive director of the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association (PQBTA), said the hot, dry weather in July (zero precipitation for only the second time in the region’s history) likely played a role in how busy it was here for hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.

“The first couple weeks of July are normally somewhat soft as families get their summer vacations in gear,” Sepos wrote in an e-mail to The NEWS. “This period was much stronger than anticipated, likely due to the fantastic weather we enjoyed then.”

“I’ve heard varying reports about July overall — people saying everything from being up a few per cent to the best July ever.”

The president of the PQBTA board, Robynne Shaw, lives the numbers every day in her job as general manager of Sunrise Ridge Resort.

“We’ve had a good summer here,” said Shaw. “I think people are feeling better about the economy and more likely to have a holiday this year than they were the last couple of years.”

Shaw also said she has seen the return of more visitors from south of the border.

“Our U.S. market is up, mostly from Washington, but more varied this year — Maryland, Texas — it hasn’t just been people from the Pacific Northwest.”

Sepos said there were concerns the Labour Day weekend falling so early this year could hurt the local industry.

“Concerns over an early Labour Day and its impact on the last couple weeks of August as families redirect their attention to back to school preparations sound like they may have been unfounded,” said Sepos

“A number of accommodations have indicated that inquiries are strong right up to the end of the month.”

Labour Day is Monday, Sept. 2.