With summer in the air, the South Cariboo Visitor Centre is starting to get busier.
Averaging about 200 individual visitors a day, manager Julie Gilmore says that’s right on par with her expectations.
“Right now we’re seeing a lot of what we call the ‘single stages.’ They’re mostly seniors and internationals who are travelling through to beat the rushes before the families come out at the end of June,” she says.
She says the centre has seen visitors from as far as Australia, New Zealand, England and France, but that there have also been a lot of American visitors on their way up for the Alaska Highway’s 75th anniversary.
The trick, says Gilmore, is promoting activities in the area for people to do and encouraging visitors to stay longer.
Currently, because of the colder weather, she says people haven’t been staying in the area as long as normal.
Gilmore spends the year working with the district and other nearby communities to promote the South Cariboo, through attendance at various trade fairs and promotion via different marketing campaigns.
This year she’s working at bringing the visitor centre into the community more, setting up a mobile centre at events like the Farmer’s Market or various festivals, “so we can have a presence and we can let people know who we are, what we are and what we can offer.”
She says that while many tourists stop for activities like the Farmer’s Market, they might not know what other activities the area has to offer.
“We are constantly working and trying to come up with ideas on how we can keep people in the area,” she says.
Through different partnerships, the South Cariboo will also see a blogger coming to showcase the area, as well as working with other promotional websites like festivalseekers.com to highlight activities in the area.
As for what the visitor centre is offering next, they will be hosting the Canadian Mosaic on June 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in their parking lot on Wrangler Way. In an interactive display, hosted along the outside of a bus or pavilion, images of Canadians will be displayed. The centre will also be offering beverages and a treat for people who stop by.
Otherwise, Gilmore says she expects this season to be good for tourism.
“Everybody seems to be getting busy, so I think it is going to be a good year and hopefully we can get busier,” she says.
“There are lots of people out and about and it’s going to get busier from here.”
The South Cariboo Visitor Centre is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.