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‘Very optimistic’: Busy start to tourism season in Penticton, B.C.

After a two-year hiatus, The S.S. Sicamous Museum and Heritage Park reopened on Friday. The museum closed down during the pandemic because the ship could not meet COVID-19 safety protocols. Taya Fast / Global News

May Long weekend was the unofficial start of Penticton, B.C.’s, peak tourism season. Several tourism attractions reopened, and new businesses launched along Lakeshore Drive.

The S.S. Sicamous Museum and Heritage Park reopened on Friday for the first time since pre-pandemic.

“Feels fantastic and the response of the public was great,” said S.S. Sicamous Society vice-president Matt Verboeket.

The museum closed down during the pandemic because the ship could not meet COVID-19 safety protocols.

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“The artifacts that are in there, a lot of them have what is shellac on them and the sanitizers contain alcohol. Alcohol will melt the shellac so we couldn’t quite keep it clear and clean,” said Verboeket.

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After a busy first weekend back, museum volunteers said they are optimistic going into summer.

“Very optimistic. I think it is going to be phenomenal and we have new staff as well and they are right into it now so it’s really, really good,” said Verboeket.

The Cherry On Top Shake Shop had its grand opening on Friday. The shop is located a short distance away from its previous location at the iconic Penticton Peach.

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“We are super happy and a little relieved after last weekend. The May long weekend was really great, it was amazing to see all the guests in Penticton enjoying our wonderful weather,” said the Cherry On Top Shake Shop owner Diana Stirling.

“We turned this shop around in four weeks from when we lost our location at the Peach. So we have forwarded the peach menu over to Cherry On Top, rebranded, new location.”

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Stirling echoed that the last two years have been difficult on the tourism industry but she’s hopeful following the Victoria Day long weekend.

“The tourism industry in Penticton was hoping for a really successful kickoff to Summer with the May long weekend and we saw it,” she said.

“It was busy, we’re super happy. We really hope that this is an indication of how our season will go this year, we are really hoping that this a recovery year.”

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