Things are looking up for the Prince Rupert tourism industry.   With COVID-19 restrictions lightened, local officials are expecting to see a big spike in the amount of travelers coming through town this summer.

"Due to COVID-19, we've had a much sort of slower 2020 and 2021 when compared to 2019. Npw, there is a huge pent up demand for travel, especially with the border open and testing requirements eased, so we expect to see a significant uptick in visitors this summer," said Ceilidh Marlow, Executive Director of Tourism Prince Rupert.

Numbers indicate that there could be an increase upwards of 50,000 tourists compared to the last two years, thanks in large part to the recently announced 2022 cruise ship schedule.

"In 2019. we had 27,000 visitors through the visitor center and then by comparison in 2020 the following year we only had 4700. So obviously it's a significant decrease because of COVID-19.  This year we're going to have 60,000 cruise passengers come through Prince Rupert and that hasn't happened in two years, so add that to tire traffic, ferry traffic and everyone else and we can expect a significant increase," Marlow told CFTK-TV News.

The added tourism numbers should do wonders for local businesses like Prince Rupert Adventure Tours that have been fighting to just keep operations afloat through the pandemic.

"It's been really tough. you know, we basically haven't done any tours for over two years now and we're lucky our company is actually diversified.   We have a marine transportation company called west coast launch, so we've been able to utilize most of our tour guides that work with us year round. But yeah, it's been a real struggle," said Jared Davis, VP of Project Development for Adventure Tours.

Now that the demand for travel within the province seems to have returned, there's finally a reason for optimism.

"I'm just excited to bring people back out to on the water and out to the grizzly bear sanctuary and show them the grizzly bears and the beautiful wildlife and and scenery that we have here," said Davis.