Sunny outlook for Shuswap tourism sector

By Jill Sperling
July 22, 2016 - 5:30pm

SCOTCH CREEK,B.C. — With the weekend now upon us, thousands of people will be heading out to the Shuswap and other area lakes to cash in on the sunshine and beautiful weather. 

Summer has been slow to arrive this year, and that's been troubling for some area businesses, especially businesses that depend on mother nature to cooperate. 

A wetter than average July has somewhat slowed the droves of visitors that normally flock to the Shuswap. 

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Clif Garcia, owner of Adams River Rafting, says his business has been affected slightly. 

"We haven't taken out a single houseboat group yet this year," Garcia said, "and normally up to this point, we don't do a lot, but we may have taken out a half a dozen to 10 houseboat groups and the phone isn't ringing from them so far this year, so that's I think where we're seeing numbers down for sure."

Adam's River Rafting usually sees between 1,500 and 2,000 tourists from May to July, and while the season started off hot, a few rainy weeks have cooled things down. 

"The first two weeks of July have definitely been a bit slower for us than normal, but we've still been steady," Garcia said. "The weather, of course, has impacted us a little bit with all the rain we've been getting, but still doing trips every day so far in July and over the last week and heading into next week we're looking right on par for what we would have done in previous seasons."

At Captain's Village Marina the weather has had very little impact on business. Manager Mark Acton says this year has actually been more profitable than last year.

"We've had a little bit of miserable weather here for the last couple of weeks but either way people still want to go boating and sales are good, people are out and about, so people will go boating regardless," Acton said. 

Further west, the Visitors Centre in Chase has been quiet, but Tourism Visitor Information Counselor, Joanna Craig says she's still seeing guests from all over the world. 

"We get like 30-40 people a day," Craig said. "It's mostly like, Europeans, the States and eastern Canada."

Treetop Flyers also boasts visitors from all over. Operations Manager, Noah Smith says they come seeking a unique adrenaline rush.

"We get to fly over two waterfalls ... and we get to reach speeds of 60-70 kilometres an hour, so it's pretty fun," Smith said.

The weather has been iffy, but tours have gone off without a hitch.

"So far we've been lucky on that end of the deal," Smith said. "We have't had to cancel any bookings yet. The only time we really do have to is when we've got thunder showers or lightning. We've been lucky in that situation."

Many campers are well aware of how unpredictable the weather can be, and they won't let the rain dampen their spirits.

Marie Rogers has been camping at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park this week. She says there have been some cooler days, but that hasn't spoiled her fun.

"A little tiny bit of rain? Hey, this is B, and the good thing about that is we've been able to have a camp fire, which I'll take that over perfectly hot and dry the whole week and no camp fire," Rogers said.

With a forecast of sunny days ahead more tourists are likely to head outdoors and experience what the region has to offer. 

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