Tourism Wells Gray gets conditional funding

District of Clearwater council voted to give another $19,200 to Tourism Wells Gray

District of Clearwater council voted to give another $19,200 to Tourism Wells Gray to cover the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013.

The society is to be advised that 2013 will be the final year of funding from the District.

The tourism promotion association was to have become self-supporting last year with the implementation of a hotel tax. However, the provincial government was slow to bring in the tax, which resulted in the District having to extend funding for another year.

Estimates made several years ago about how much the hotel tax would bring in later proved overly optimistic.

Several council members expressed dissatisfaction with the situation. However, councillor Barry Banford said Tourism Wells Gray had been given a list of deliverables needed to receive the extended funding and, since those had been delivered, he saw no reason not to extend the funding.

According to Tourism Wells Gray, the number of visitors at the Wells Gray Infocenter are down by 6,000 people, mostly because the number of hours open were reduced because of building renovations in May. Ongoing construction of a roundabout at the junction of Highway 5 and the road to Wells Gray Park also probably reduced the number of visitors.

However, Infocenter numbers rebounded in the last half of the season, up by 415 compared to last year for the first seven days of August.

Two of three rafting companies say business was down 15 – 20 per cent due to water levels and weather.

Fixed room accommodations, motels and hotels within town reported an increase of 20 – 25 per cent for the year to date.

Campsites within Clearwater reported an increase of 10 – 12 per cent, while accommodations within the park report an increase of 10 – 15 per cent.

 

Information from the larger accommodation providers indicates that the majority of the increased business is from within B.C. and North America. It is comprised of middle-aged parents with older children who stay two or three days – up from a 2011 report that stated the average stay was 2.1 days.