B.C. tourism sector hoping May long weekend rush is the start of a strong season

The May long weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer. Many people were out and about and tourism operators in Victoria are hopeful this weekend was just the start of a busy season. Richard Zussman has more.

British Columbia’s tourism sector is hoping the unofficial start to summer brings the unofficial start to a strong tourism season.

The Victoria Day long weekend saw an uptick in visitors in the provincial capital with travellers coming from across the country.

“It certainly started to feel alive again. for the first time since 2019. Positive. But we could do more. We could do more,” Spring Tide Whale Watching Ian Roberts said just before boarding a nearly full vessel.

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It has been a turbulent two-plus years for the entire tourism sector but has been especially choppy for high-end experiences like whale watching and horse-drawn carriages.

The return of cruise ships has allowed the sectors to re-hire many employees who were laid off during the pandemic.

“it will provide Victoria with a healthy workforce again and happy people. Allowing people to love the city again,” Tally-Ho Carriage Tours operator Debbie O’Rourke said.

“It has been very hard. Most of what we make goes back into the horses. It was hard the last few years.”

O’Rourke says there were visitors lined up for most of Sunday and Monday looking to get a carriage ride.

She also noticed an uptick in visitors all along their downtown tour route.

“It has been beautiful. We have had tourists slowly come back from the islands. We have had visitors from Manitoba, from Ontario,” O’Rourke said.

“It is definitely busier. We had lots of locals visit us, but this year there have been more tourists.”

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