Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc in many areas of life, the County of Grande Prairie (Alberta, Canada) is announcing its best camping season ever.
According to a report, the county campgrounds saw an increase in visitors last year. Twelve thousand eight hundred eighty-seven overnight guests generated CA$228,346 in revenues.
The county parks and recreation department declared that the 2021 camping season saw an increase of eight percent in the total revenue. The total number of campers grew by 830 in 2021.
According to Christine Rawlins, county parks and recreation manager, the pandemic played an essential role in the rise in attendance.
Rawlins claimed that many enjoyed a holiday staycation because traveling to the U.S. and further afield was difficult because of numerous restrictions.
The new year also brings new changes to the county’s campgrounds.
The Committee of Whole will be proposing the use of an online reservation system created this year for the Demmitt, Hommy, Bear Lake, and Kleskun Hill campgrounds.
This is a Camp Reservations Canada online reservation software program that could be rolled out on a one-year trial basis.
“One of the benefits for campers is that it allows people to pre-plan and pre-book their sites so that they’re not rushing out to the campground on a Friday after work they can take their time knowing that their spot is waiting for them,” said Rawlins.
The county parks and recreation department will report on the trial’s progress to the council in the fourth quarter of 2022.
In the meantime, the Pipestone Creek campground will continue to use the CampLife system that it has been using since 2017.
The County Parks and Rec hope that moving reservations online will enable the campgrounds to benefit from the industry trends that have demonstrated the increase of occupancy when using online reservations.
“It (online reservations) allows our park hosts to better anticipate how many people are going to be showing up at the campground that weekend and which sites are the priority to make sure they’re clean and ready for incoming campers and allows us to anticipate how much firewood we would need,” said Rawlins.
She also said that it’s now an accepted practice in parks both national and provincial, and reservations in person from hosts at campsites are still available.
Rawlin said online reservations are expected to be accessible at the end of January, and the Pipestone campground online reservations will open on January 15.
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