It was a busy month of July for tourism in Burns Lake. According to Village of Burns Lake (VBL) Tourism Coordinator Meghan Olson, 808 total people were recorded both the main office and the Radley Beach locations, a majority of whom were B.C. residents as well as locals. Olson told Lakes District News thats it’s around a 65 per cent increase from the month of June. Part of the reason is because July and August are typically the most popular summer months for traveling, but Olson also believes that the lift of COVID-19 restrictions has had a lot to do with the uptick as well.
“People definitely seem more excited about the fact that there are less covid restrictions and more opportunities to travel more freely,” said Olson. “I’ve seen lots of people from the lower mainland as well as Vancouver compared to last month.”
Olson also told the Lakes District News that there have been lots of tourists travelling through town to go to places like the Yukon and Northern B.C., as well as former residents of Burns Lake who are eager to come back and see how the town has evolved over the years. “There’s been a few people who lived here 20-30 years ago who have come back this summer for nostalgic reasons, and to see what’s become of the town.”
Though the numbers have increased as the summer has gone along, Olson mentioned that there is still tension from some travellers regarding mask mandates and fears about COVID.
International travel of course has gone down as well compared to recent years due to COVID-19, though Olson thinks that could change in the near future. “When I first started working here in 2018, there were travellers from places like Germany, Croatia, Austria and various other places in Europe. We’ve gotten a lot of emails inquiring about future trips from people who live abroad and are anticipating an end to COVID-19 within the next year, so hopefully we can get back to that soon.”
Canada is already beginning to open up for international travelers; as of Aug. 9, the Northern B.C. Tourism Association announced that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents can enter Canada for leisure travel. If they meet the entry criteria, fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival.