(Phil McLachlan/Capital News file)

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News file)

Tourism Kelowna encourages ‘staycation’ for this May long weekend

With travel restrictions in place, locals are urged to explore their own city

Tourism Kelowna is encouraging locals to explore their own city with a staycation over the upcoming May long weekend.

As public health orders continue to restrict travel to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Lisanne Ballantyne, president and CEO at Tourism Kelowna, is reminding Kelowna residents there’s a lot of fun to be had right in their own backyards — all the while supporting local businesses.

She says outdoor activities will likely be popular this weekend, like parasailing, boating and wineries.

“Find those hidden gems. A quick visit or phone call to the Kelowna Visitors Centre will help you find that trail that you have never tried hiking or even a restaurant in the city that you’ve never tried,” Ballantyne urged.

“We’re so lucky here to have this quality of life and the ability to move around outdoors safely. When you compare it to what other provinces are going through right now, B.C. is in a good place. For those of us here in the Interior, we can get out this weekend and be safe.”

As far as out-of-town visitors go, the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre Kelowna has not seen a pick-up in bookings this weekend.

Normally, the May long weekend is one of the hotel’s busiest weekends of the summer and their second busiest month of the year.

“The only bookings we have had since the province restricted travel have been people coming to Kelowna for medical reasons, jobs, or other necessary visits,” said Maxine DeHart, a city councillor and the director of sales at the Kelowna Ramada.

Despite having fewer bookings, the Ramada’s restaurant patios are open and staying busy. Both Mickey’s Pub and Patio and Smitty’s Family Restaurant have seen a lot of visitors. As a result, the Ramada extended Smitty’s seating into their parking lot.

DeHart said she hopes that the restrictions will lift soon so that all local hotels can generate some revenue this summer — especially with August being the busiest month of the year for the Ramada.

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