SOUTHWEST COAST – Advanced bookings for Burgeo Sandbanks Provincial Park have skyrocketed this summer according to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation.
“In the morning, at the beginning of Camping Reservations Systems launch (April 28), reservations at Sandbanks were up by 1,200 per cent compared to 2019. By the end of launch day, reservations at Sandbanks were up 783% over 2019,” says Kathryn Summers, the department’s Media Relations Manager.
Most of the bookings were made early in the morning and the pace slowed during the course of the day.
“An increase in reservations of 783% on launch day is a staggering increase,” wrote Summers via e-mail.
There are 32 provincial parks in the province, including 13 campground parks. On launch day, reservations were up by 35 percent over 2019 numbers for the 13 campgrounds.
The department isn’t entirely certain why there has been such a strong surge in popularity for the provincial parks. An increase in awareness combined with limited travel options due to the pandemic may have played a role, but there are likely a number of factors at play, including focused marketing efforts.
“Sandbanks Provincial Park has been increasing in popularity over the past number of years and in April of this year Provincial Parks launched a new brand and website at www.parksnl.ca that features a beautiful image of Sandbanks Provincial Park on the landing page,” notes Summers.
The Ontario Parks system has had to contend with scalpers re-selling reservations for provincial campsites because of demand, but Summers says that hasn’t been the case in Newfoundland and Labrador, likely because demand does not outweigh supply.
“There are still lots of campsites available in the provincial park campgrounds,” promises Summers.
Fees for the provincial parks remain the same, and all public health guidelines must be followed by campers and day users.
Adds Summers, “Provincial Parks is introducing a series of fun photo opportunity signs in the 13 camping parks this summer including J.T. Cheeseman and Sandbanks, so visitors are asked to keep their eyes open for these when visiting a provincial park this summer.”