B.C. Wildlife Park hopes to lift spirits and revenue with Wildlights Festival
Operator says park lost $80,000 in July and August due to drop in tourism because of wildfires
The B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops is hoping its annual Wildlights Festival will help recover some of the revenue lost as a result of a drop in tourism due to this summer's wildfires.
Glenn Grant, executive director of the B.C. Wildlife Park, said during July and August 2017, the park saw 8,000 fewer visitors compared to those months in 2016. He said that adds up to a loss of about $80,000.
"Having a good Wildlights and gaining some of that revenue back goes a long way in looking after all the wildlife here," Grant said.
Grant said the financial loss is a big hit and he doesn't want to have to reduce services to make up for it, but the money also can't be taken out of the cost of caring for the 263 animals at the park.
"A lot of work goes into the care of those animals," he said.
On average, the B.C. Wildlife Park sees 16,000 people during its Wildlights Festival.
Grant said the park will need to see more people come through the doors in order to cover the lost revenue and raise funds for upcoming projects, like an education facility that is estimated to cost $850,000.
To encourage the extra crowds, the park has installed approximately 600,000 lights.
Grant said this year the park will also offer more children's activities.
"We found over the past few years, kids really want to be active," he said.
Along with lights, there will be a ball hockey station, a winter-themed bean bag toss and ring toss.
The Wildlights Festival runs Dec. 15 to Jan. 7.
With files from Doug Herbert