The tourism sector is having an excellent year and it’s not surprising that many British Columbians are choosing to staycation and enjoy the spectacular tourism experiences in their own backyards.
“The Cariboo-Chilcotin is a wonderful place for locals to get re-acquainted with and for visitors to experience,” says Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.
“From a relaxing trail ride at a local guest ranch, to perusing our unique shops and galleries, to exploring our region’s fascinating history and beautiful wonders of nature – there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
If a Cariboo Chilcotin Coast staycation is on your radar, here are just some of the fun activities you can enjoy:
• Take in the South Cariboo Garlic Festival in Lac la Hache this weekend, Aug. 29 and 30.
• Walk around the City of Williams Lake enjoying creative art work during Art Walk 2015.
• Drive out to Horsefly Friday, Sept. 11 or Sunday, Sept. 13 to watch the salmon return and see the Xat’sull Save the Salmon Traditional Pow-wow at the Horsefly spawning channels.
• Jet-boating on the Fraser River with Cariboo Chilcotin
• A visit to Barkerville. The largest heritage site in Western North America.
• 100 Mile House has hundreds of kilometres of backcountry trials. Explore them by ATV, mountain bike, motorcycle, horseback or on foot.
• Tour de Cariboo Gran Fondo, 75 kilometre ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake, Sept. 12.
• Williams Lake Harvest Fair, Sept. 12-13.
• Williams Lake Farmers Market Fridays through summer and fall.
• Visit Xat’sull Heritage Village at Soda Creek and learn about First Nations culture.
• Take a country drive to Soda Creek townsite to pick your own Soda Creek Sweet Corn.
• View grizzly bears at the BC Parks Belarko Wildlife Viewing Platform starting Sept. 1 along the Atnarko River near Bella Coola.
The Platform is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is surrounded by an electric fence supported by a cedar-railed fence.
• Pick any of the beautiful lakes in the region for a day of swimming and picnicking, fishing, camping or just plain relaxing reading a good book.
• The Williams Lake Tourist Information Centre has many more adventure ideas for staycation travellers.
Victoria reports that B.C.’s tourism sector is strong and growing.
In 2014, 4.65 million international travellers came to B.C., a 5.3 per cent increase and nearly a quarter million more visitors than were welcomed in 2013.
As well, the tourism sector employed 132,000 British Columbians, almost one in every 15 jobs in B.C. in 2013.
The sector has more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses and paid out $4.5 billion in wages and salaries to tourism workers in 2013.
This is an increase of 3.8 per cent over the year before.