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Long weekend tourism returns to Victoria in a big way

Vancouver -

Hotels and ferries have been fully booked this long weekend, and tourism operators in Greater Victoria have been scrambling to keep up with demand.

Ash Lee is visiting the Island with his family. He told CTV News Vancouver Island he booked his trip two months ago, and even then the resort he wanted to stay at struggled to find room for him.

"Even two months ago, they had to try and find a room for us," Lee said. "And then I decided to bring my mom, but there was no chance of getting an adjacent suite, so we just all had to cram in."

The boost in business is a welcome sight for the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria, but overall occupancy rates have been inconsistent, according to Bill Lewis, the association's chair.

"The city ran 52 per cent (occupancy) last week," Lewis said. "That's overall numbers, so it's still certainly not in the range of the 80 or 90 that you'd expect Victoria to be running in peak season."

As hotels and restaurants struggle to rehire staff laid off during the pandemic, some are scrambling to serve guests, while others have scaled back their hours due to the labour shortage. 

Several pub managers in Victoria said they were too busy, and too short-staffed, to speak to CTV News on Saturday.

With Canada scheduled to open its border to fully vaccinated travellers from the United States on Aug. 9, Victoria's tourist season may continue ramping up, whether the hospitality industry is ready or not. Top Stories

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