This week should have been KIOTAC in Kimberley and business people are feeling it. KIOTAC was always one of the busiest weeks in the summer at the Kimberley Riverside Campground and manager Jarret Bell was justifiably nervous about how things would go when its cancellation was announced.
However, with the week almost over, Bell is pleased to say that they have had a good week.
“When KIOTAC was cancelled we did have major cancellations,” Bell said. “About 15 people with reservations came anyway, and we managed to get to 87 per cent occupancy for the week. It’s fantastic considering KIOTAC was cancelled.”
The campground has been having a good season so far despite less than great weather, Bell says.
“We had considerable cancellations due to floods, when people just couldn’t get here,” he said. “And the weather wasn’t great either.”
Yet the 140-site campground held its own and is looking at 100 per cent occupancy for July and August. Most of those sites are reserved but the campground can handle drive-in visitors as well.
Last year, occupancy peaked at 97 per cent for the summer months, and Bell is hoping to do a little better than that this year.
Riverside has a pool, laundry, showers, sani dump — all the features you’d expect at a campground, but it’s also got access to the Nature Park, and, new last year, the Riverside Putting Course.
“The golf course opened in May and we’ve had 1200 rounds so far despite not great weather. We had so many school groups booked for the last two weeks of June but they all had to cancel because of the weather.”
Bell says the putting course is getting lots of local visitors and it’s hoped that word of mouth will spread about the new amenity.
The putting course was built with funds from Kimberley’s Resort Municipality Program, where the City receives hotel tax revenue which must be used to enhance tourism infrastructure.
Bell says staff is constantly upgrading facilities at the campground to keep things fresh and exciting for guests. It appears to be working as a good portion of the guests are return visitors.
“Lots of guests say it’s their favourite place to come to. They say they used to tell all their friends about it but they don’t anymore. It’s too popular.”
You can learn all about the new features and more at the newly updated website, www.kimberleycampground.com
“Hopefully there will be no fire ban and the weather will stay moderately nice,” Bell said. “It should be a good season.”