THUNDER BAY -- Gas prices and a cool start to the summer may have led to the slow start to the tourism season.
Paul Pepe, the manager of tourism for the City of Thunder Bay, said Wednesday that June was a slow month for traffic through the area.
“Gas could be one factor. The cooler weather, the damp weather, the wet weather, could have all played a factor as well,” Pepe said. “Anecdotally, what we’re hearing from our partners is that July has picked up.”
Thunder Bay is considered a rubber-tire tourism market, which means that the majority of tourists reach the city by car. Pepe said there have been adjustments to this year’s tourism strategy with this in mind.
“There’s a greater focus on motorcycle tourism, where gas prices play very little role in people’s decision to travel,” Pepe said.
He added that the RV market is an interesting one as well.
“I think we should be getting more of the upscale RV market, the people with the $200,000 units and the diesel pushers and things like that. Price of fuel is the least of their concerns.”
There has been a trend of RV owners camping closer to their destination.
If July tourism numbers are on the upswing, there won’t be definite numbers until after the month is over.
“It’ll probably be about mid-August before we really have a true snapshot of what that traffic looks like in terms of whether it’s up or down from last year,” Pepe said.
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