Tourism industry expects busy May long weekend in the Okanagan

Gearing up for May Long

Madison Erhardt

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association says they are preparing for a significant number of tourists during the May Long weekend.

"From talking to our tourist operators and stakeholders, we are looking at a very strong May Long weekend," said Ellen Walker-Matthews, CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.

"The numbers are very good right around the region. It is traditionally the kickstart to our summer season. It has been a difficult two and a half years, so any opportunity to get things back moving forward and start the season off well helps everyone."

Walker-Mathews says the majority of visitors will be from B.C.

"Typically we don't see a lot of international travellers this time of year in the Okanagan. This will be a lot of B.C. residents and Alberta residents I am expecting. Talking with the airports the loads seem to be very good from Eastern Canada through the spring and summer so I think we will see some of that Canadian domestic market and some of that U.S. market," she added.

Kelowna RCMP tells Castanet they are also ready for an influx of visitors.

RCMP have sent out a request for regular members and reservists to work overtime the May long weekend to focus on the anticipated increase in visitors and patrons primarily in the downtown core, bars, restaurants and parks.

"The Kelowna RCMP continue to support the community and City with respect to the needs of policing. The ability for the RCMP to draw upon resources across this division allows the flexibility to manage an influx of people coming to the Central Okanagan on the May long weekend," said Insp. Adam MacIntosh, operations officer for the Kelowna RCMP.

"We have resources in place to support those coming to our community and its policing needs. We encourage everyone to have a great long weekend and do so in both a responsible and safe manner." Insp. MacIntosh added.

Last year, there was a ban on indoor dining at restaurants across the province until the spring and other restrictions throughout the rest of the summer.

TOTA believes last year's restrictions will motivate people to get out and explore the Okanagan.

"Most activities that have launched have been full. Events that are on our filling up and sold out everywhere. I think we are going to see strong numbers and people are ready to get out there and do things," Walker-Mathews added.

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