In the wake of the sockeye salmon, visitors to the Salmon Arm Visitor Centre also have dominant years as they wind their way up the Trans-Canada Highway.
In October 2010 and again in October 2014 – years with dominant salmon runs –numbers of visitors to the visitor centre were about triple what they were during October in the three interim years.
This past year, visitors totalled 1,803, with a similar number in October 2010 – 1757.
During a presentation to city council, Chamber manager Corryn Grayston noted that Shuswap Lake Provincial Park was kept open to Oct. 26 in 2014, instead of early October.
“That made a tremendous difference. It was really nice we could do that.”
For 2011 to 2013, the number of drop-ins in October to the visitor centre decreased dramatically to 525, 741 and 603 respectively.
However, the figures for July, August and September were still higher than October and much closer across all five years, with 2014 seeing 4,400 visitors in July, 4,000 in August, then dropping back to 2,012 in September.
People from B.C. made up the majority of visitors to the Salmon Arm Visitor Centre, with 2,194 local residents and another 2,249 from other parts of the province.
Grayston noted that most B.C. visitors came from the north as well as the Lower Mainland.
“We’re seeing a lot from northern B.C. Many want to relocate…”
Next, as expected, were visitors from Alberta at 1,802. European tourists were the next group at 1,150, while visitors from other parts of Canada tallied 574.
Grayston said European visitors tend to come mainly from Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.
Next were tourists from Asia and Australia totalling 345, followed by U.S. visitors at 248. Those figures were fairly typical of the breakdown for the previous few years.
Of 10 visitor centres in the region, five saw increased visitors in 2014 – Salmon Arm, Vernon, Merritt, Enderby and Chase.
Those whose numbers decreased in 2014 were in Armstrong, Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton and Sicamous.