Locals have been providing anecdotal evidence all year to say that Golden has been getting busier and busier. Hotel owners have said they have had higher occupancy rates, stores have had stronger sales, restaurants have been busier.
Well now the stats are in, and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training announced at the end of November that British Columbia has seen a 7.6 per cent increase in visitation over the previous year.
That means an additional 290,532 people came to B.C. this year.
September alone had an 11.5 per cent increase from September 2014.
Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean that Golden, or even the Kootenays, has had the same level of increase. But there are some other factors to suggest that Golden visitation has risen over the last year.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort reported its busiest opening day in memory, rivalling Alberta Day long weekend which is usually the busiest of the year.
Our little town also received a high accolade on trivago.com, an international travel site that compares and ranks hotels.
Trivago rated the top ten best Canadian destinations for Canadians to travel to this year. Golden ranked number three on the fun, affordable, passport-free list.
“Tourism operators from across the province are having a good year, with revenues and occupancy rates up significantly. With the strong U.S. dollar we are seeing fewer Canadians crossing the border, which is adding to excellent growth from international tourism markets. And, as a bonus, several of B.C.’s ski hills and resorts have opened early which should lead to a positive winter season and a superb finish to 2015,” said Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia.