As tourism to our Valley increases it has become sharply apparent that there is a real need for additional accommodation. Bella Coola Valley Tourism issued an urgent call to accommodators last week, asking them to get hold of of directors if they have any space available.
“The accommodation capacity in the area appears to be exhausted with numerous visitors unable to find accommodations. Many are searching for last-minute spaces, some are sleeping in their cars, but none wanting to sleep outdoors with our bears,” said BCVT President Ernest Hall. “BCVT can assist in helping them find whatever spaces might be available, but only if we are notified us of any vacancies you may have, as we do not have staff to fill this function.”
There are 17 accommodators in the Valley listed on the website, ranging from full hotels to private cabins, chalets, campsites, and B&B’s. However, this is proving inadequate for the increased demand.
The BCVT Visitor Information Booth’s attendant, Sheridan Northeast, said she has seen over a thousand visitors come through this summer, and with the direct summer ferry being reinstated between Port Hardy and Bella Coola for the summer 2018 tourist season, numbers are predicted to rise.
The Nuxalk Nation has plans to transform the old Bella Coola Motel site into a restaurant and traditional-style accommodation along the river, with construction underway right now. The hope is that it will become a hub for Aboriginal tourism in B.C.’s central coast.
The increase in bear viewing has also resulted in tourists staying in the Valley longer than the traditional summer season, with stays now stretching into October, as eager visitors hope to catch a glimpse of bears feeding on fall spawning salmon.
Hall says that two directors have volunteered to coordinate any spaces that may be available, asking people to get in touch with them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-799-5202.
“Pertinent notices have been posted on the BCVT website and the the Visit Bella Coola Facebook page and the Belco Bulletin Board,” said Hall. “We must do whatever we can to ensure our visitors have a pleasant, safe experience that they will share with others after they leave.”