Increase in overnight visits in Harrison

Harrison tourism rates nearing provincial average of 63 per cent

Harrison saw a decrease in day trippers this year, but an increase in number of overnight visitors.

And while there has also been a decrease in the number of European visitors, that decline has been offset by visitors from Asian countries.

The current trends in tourism were outlined to council recently in a presentation by Robert Reyerse, executive director of Tourism Harrison.

“We’ve seen increased occupancy in 2013,” he said. “It’s been a very good, strong year from May onward.”

As of the end of September, Harrison’s accommodation rate is at 62.2 per cent, just a bit lower than the provincial average of 63 per cent. That’s also 5.8 per cent increase from the previous year.

Tourism Harrison will continue market to a variety of potential visitors, Reyerse said.

For the summer, they target a vacationing family as their audience. For the winter and shoulder months, it’s couple’s getaways. For the midweek, they hope to attract seniors who may prefer the quieter pace and lower rates. Finally, they are continuing to work on drawing the attention of Asian families and couples.

Tourism Harrison even has a Chinese language website.

Locally, there have been some changes to how Tourism Harrison operates, Reyerse added. They are now working three levels of event marketing — sponsorship, coordination and management. Last year, they delved right into event management and created the Harrison Beer Festival.

For other events, they may only operate at arms’ reach, he said.

Tourism Harrison has two full time employees and three part time employees, and involves 10 accommodation members. Members are accommodation providers who more than four rooms available for rental.

news@ahobserver.com