By Chad Ingram
Whether it was the nice weather or the low Canadian dollar area businesses are reporting a stellar summer season this year.
“Our summer was truly outstanding and our numbers are up across the board” Shawn Chamberlin owner of Minden’s Dominion Hotel and Grill on the Gull told the paper. “Unlike summers in the past our summer season started early in June. We’ve noticed the return of American change to our till which has been missing for a few years. Our events and concerts have been well attended. The weather co-operated being not too warm to keep people on the docks all day but warm enough to keep them out of their kitchens.”
Up Highway 35 the dining room at Carnarvon’s Rhubarb restaurant was busy too as well as its Boshkung Brewery.
“We have found that there is definitely an increase in business for us this year with many new customers who are either new cottagers or people on vacation in the Highlands for the first time as well as locals and regulars” said owner Terri Mathews-Carl adding the restaurant has been turning away anywhere from 40 to 100 people without reservations each day. “Our brewery has not been able to keep up with demand and has sold out on numerous occasions and had lineups out the door. With such a demand we have been able to purchase additional equipment allowing us to increase production by 40 per cent and hire more staff.”
Mathews-Carl said the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market in Carnarvon has greatly increased daytime revenue on Fridays.
The market has also increased the restaurant’s use of local products.
“We have been pleased to be able to increase our orders with local farms for produce meat cheese and herbs this year due to an increase in business” Mathews-Carl said.
In Dysart et al the county’s largest accommodator has seen an increase in room nights of more than a third with general manager John Teljeur telling the paper there was increase in bookings of 37 per cent between July 1 and Aug. 18 versus the same period last summer.
Down County Road 21 at the Lakeview Motel owner Holly McDonald said traffic for the year was up about 10 per cent from last.
“It’s been busier this summer than the last few summers” McDonald said adding that as usual people taking courses at Fleming College made up a chunk of her clientele.
However McDonald said the motel has not seen the kind of traffic it used to see since before the 2008 recession when it would be booked up every night during the summertime.
A recent survey of 15 tourism operators in the county showed that 13 of them felt the state of tourism in the community was healthier than five years ago.
Reasons cited included improved communication and partnering between tourism partners better marketing from Haliburton County and accommodators taking a greater role in promoting events.
When asked about challenges to businesses those surveyed said getting engaged on social media finding reliable and affordable labour and getting locals to engage in activities were impediments.
There was also a comment that there aren’t enough food outlets in the eastern portion of the county to support events in that area.