Bruce Wishart addresses members of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.

Bruce Wishart addresses members of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.

Tourism Prince Rupert CEO discusses 2011 and 2012 seasons

Tourism Prince Rupert CEO Bruce Wishart was the speaker at the October 19 Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Tourism Prince Rupert CEO Bruce Wishart was the speaker at the October 19 Chamber of Commerce luncheon and spoke about the 2011 tourist season, projections for the 2012 season and some of the challenges facing the industry.

According to Wishart, this past year was one of the best in recent history in terms of tourism.

“It was an incredibly good year, quite a bit different from 2009 and 2010. Hotel receipts are at a 10-plus year high, and part of that is the numerous conferences that were hosted…But at least half of that is the number of overnight leisure travelers coming along the highway or by ferry. The numbers are up about 13 per cent for visitor info centres along highway 16,” he said, noting that 2009 saw a 10 per cent drop in room revenue due to the economic slowdown and 2010 saw another drop.

“Just because we had an excellent year, though, doesn’t mean everyone had a great year…Bed and breakfasts didn’t meet their targets for this year because they attract a different clientele than hotels. So while hotels are up, bed and breakfasts were hurting this year.”

Among the challenges faced by the industry in 2011 were the high Canadian dollar, which Wishart said could be stronger in 2012 according to analysts, the high rates on BC Ferries and the closure of the recreational halibut fishery in September.

“We have no way of measuring how many trips were cancelled in September. I spoke with one operator who said he had about a dozen cancel when the halibut fishery was closed, including a couple who come for three days at a time every year,” he said.

“That was a case of incompetence over conservation.”

Looking ahead, Whishart says next year should be another good one on the North Coast.

“We should see room numbers high in 2012, we should see visitor numbers high and we have to look at how to capitalize on that,” he said, adding that a revised visitor guide, a new website and an upcoming mobile application are initiatives Tourism Prince Rupert are working on for visitors.

“Give or take 200,000 people per year travel through Prince Rupert every year and they have a certain expectation, millions more are exposed to the Prince Rupert tourism product via the web and they have different expectations, so we have to manage how we present Prince Rupert’s message to the world.”

However, he did note that the loss of the weekly cruise ship will have an impact on operators in the community.

“The loss of the weekly ship – we put a dollar value on the ship, but the dollar value doesn’t tell the whole story. For some operators that is all, or a very large part of, their annual reliable income,” he said.

Tourism is estimated to bring $200 million per year into the local economy, according to Wishart.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hays Creek in Prince Rupert requires more than $1.5 million to repair the creek and walls built in the 1950s and 1960s, Prince Rupert City Council heard on Jan. 25. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert City Council briefs:

More than $1.5 million needed to restore Hays Creek in Prince Rupert

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read