The Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association says regional businesses have been hit so hard by wildfires, some have had to layoff staff.
That’s why CEO Kathy Cooper says they were delighted when the Province announced $200,000 in funding last week to help off-set the negative effects from this historic summer.
Cooper explains the funding will be used to market regional businesses and attract even more visitors in 2018.
She says most of their marketing efforts will focus on Alberta, BC, Washington and Idaho, noting 68% of the people who visit our region are from the east side of the Rockies.
Cooper says they’ve distributed an economic impact survey to regional business and nearly every respondent has experienced loss of visitations and loss of revenue.
She says a lot of that has been caused by the backcountry ban, smoke and highway closures.
Cooper says its unfortunate as she suggests local tourism industry had a great start to the season and was on its way to another record breaking year (2016 saw an historic amount of visitors to the Kootenays).
That changed in July however when flames covered most of the province and began popping up in our region.
Cooper adds this provincial funding will be a major asset as they look to put 2017 behind them.
– Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association CEO Kathy Cooper