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HomeNews100 Mile HouseCovid-19 took its toll on Barkerville this year.

Covid-19 took its toll on Barkerville this year.

James Douglas, who is in charge of Public Programming, says their numbers were down quite a bit this year…

” We only saw just shy of 23,000 people between June 18th and the end of the season.   Compared to say last year we had 58,916 people between the second week of May and the end of season, so we were definitely half of our numbers from the previous year, but there are so many mitigating factors that we’re actually seeing this as quite a success for Barkerville.”

One of those mitigating factors was a late start to the season…

“Normally we open in the second week of May but we were closed all the way through as health and safety protocols were getting worked out, and then on June 18th we opened in a limited fashion.    People could come and visit the various shops and a couple of the restaurants in Barkerville and stay over night, but we didn’t actually start our active interpretive programming until July 3rd.”

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And Douglas says once that happened they were still limited due to Covid…

“We could only allow a maximum of 200 people on site at any one time, and that includes the people working there, so we had to be very careful about pre-booking as many tickets as we possibly could, and just getting the information out there letting people know even if we reach the 200 person limit there could be opportunities to come into the park a little bit later on if some of those people left.”

Douglas says they were able to sort of max that out though as they averaged 218 people a day over and above their working staff.

He says travel restrictions due to Covid also had an impact as they didn’t see any of the American visitors or European visitors that they normally do.

But Douglas says there was a silver lining…

“What we did see however, was a real uptick in people coming from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley in particular, so we saw quite a huge jump in our percentage of people from Vancouver, who were looking to get out of the city, do a little bit of travelling within their own province.    And I think that has spin off benefits for Barkerville and the whole Cariboo region because a lot of those people had never been here before, and they’re going back to Vancouver and telling people what a great experience they had.”

Douglas says one other areas where they saw a decline however, was with students.

He says they normally get more than three thousand school visits in May and June, but that didn’t happen this year either.

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