The number of tourists to the Rossland Visitor Centre has plunged during the COVID-19 crisis.
The visitor centre is located inside the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre (RMDC) at the intersection of Highway 3B and Highway 22.
According to RMDC marketing manager Emily Roberts, the number of tourists to the visitor centre dropped from 6340 to 2366 people when comparing the summer of 2019 to 2020. That’s a drop of 63 per cent.
Roberts said there were a variety of reasons for why traffic was down.
“We got a lot more phone calls than we typically did this past summer. People seemed to do a lot more research upon their arrival to Rossland and weren’t as as keen to use our visitor centre,” said Roberts.
“We also moved a lot of our brochures from inside to outside the facility. That allowed people to just grab them and go as they please.”
Tourists overall spent less time at the visitor centre during the summer, only using its washrooms or asking a few questions. Most of them also chose not to walk through the museum area located next to the centre like they normally would.
Despite the drop in traffic, many tourists have still been visiting Rossland in September and October.
“Just from my own experience, there’s a lot more people still touring around to try and enjoy as much of this warm weather we’ve been having,” said Roberts.
“A lot of people of people are surprisingly still camping right now and we keep having to tell them that most of our parks closed in the beginning of September.”
Roberts noted that more tourists recently have been wanting to camp instead of stay in a hotel to reduce their exposure to COVID-19.
Visitor centre staff also received more questions about different recreational activities tourists could do outdoor. Biking trail inquiries was one of the categories that increased the most.
In terms of tourists to the visitor centre this year, 71 per cent were local, 20.5 per cent were from B.C. and 3.4 per cent were from Alberta. No Washington residents visited this summer with the border temporarily closed.
Roberts said she will try holding more local events at the RMDC this winter for residents to keep its traffic and revenue up.