A photo of the fire north of Three Valley Lake, which caused the evacuation order at Three Valley Gap, on July 18. (Contributed-TJ Balon)

A photo of the fire north of Three Valley Lake, which caused the evacuation order at Three Valley Gap, on July 18. (Contributed-TJ Balon)

Revelstoke summer tourism numbers drop due to wildfires and travel restrictions

A number of resorts reported a decrease in tourism numbers for the months of May-August, 2021

Through the pandemic and wildfires, tourism numbers in Revelstoke are down for the summer of 2021 in almost every category.

In addition to a decrease in travel due to wildfire smoke and road closures, non-essential travel restrictions were in place within the province until mid-June, and travel into the province was not recommended until July 1, causing low numbers for the start of the summer tourism season.

Three Valley Gap, located just 27 km southwest of Revelstoke, was one of the few businesses in the area to be put under evacuation order and closed due to wildfires in the area.

All operations at Three Valley Gap were closed from Jul. 20 to Aug. 5, which, according to Diana Bostock of Three Valley Lake Chateau, is their busiest time of the year.

According to Bostock, the closure caused hundreds of bookings at the resort to be lost, and a loss of approximately 25 per cent of their staff after reopening.

The evacuation order at the resort was put in place for 31 days from Jul. 19 to Aug. 18.

READ MORE: Evacuation alert issued for Three Valley Gap properties along lake

During the closure, the Three Valley Gap Lake Chateau hosted a number of construction contractors and wildfire crews, allowing them to keep a small portion of their staff on-site.

The resort reported a 5 per cent decrease in visitation numbers compared to statistics from the 2020 summer season, down a further 57 per cent when compared to statistics from the 2019 summer season.

Visitation numbers at Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Park saw their biggest decrease in visitation during the months of May and August, with roughly 13,000 fewer visitors in May compared to statistics from 2020, and roughly 14,000 fewer visitors in August compared to statistics from 2020.

Total numbers for Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Park went down to 466,165 visitors from May-August in 2021 compared to 474,952 during the same months in 2020. Both numbers are drastically lower than pre-pandemic statistics, with the parks reporting 549,975 visitors in the summer months of 2019.

In contrast, the Revelstoke Mountain Resort reported a 10 per cent increase in visitation numbers during the months of July and August according to Carly Moran, Communications Manager at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Mountain Resort prepares for B.C. vaccine card amidst uncertainty from province

According to Moran, weather was a significant factor in the resort’s reported numbers. While the wildfire smoke kept hikers and mountain bikers away, the lack of rain allowed one of their biggest attractions, the Pipe Mountain Coaster, to run at full capacity for most of the season.

The resort also reported a decrease in mountain bike visitation compared to 2020.

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British ColumbiaRevelstokeSummerTourism