There won’t be any border crossings going on this year for seasoned snowbirds. (Black Press file photo)

There won’t be any border crossings going on this year for seasoned snowbirds. (Black Press file photo)

Editorial: Economy boost likely from the snowbirds

Many deciding to stay home with options for heading south more limited

The fall and winter could be unexpectedly prosperous for businesses on Vancouver Island and throughout the B.C. South Coast.

The snowbirds won’t be making their way south this year in the usual numbers due to the coronavirus, opening the door for numerous possibilities for our region. Many will still look at air travel to escape to Arizona, Mexico, California, Nevada and all those sunnier climes, but those accustomed to driving are having to stay home due to the continued Canada-U.S. border closure except for essential travel. Cars can be shipped down and owners can rendezvous with them later after taking a flight, but it’s a big undertaking.

RELATED: U.S.-Canadian border closure reportedly could extend through November

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Those snowbirds already living in the vicinity will be staying at their homes while others from across Canada with harsher winters are likely to consider the B.C. coast for the short term since it has the most temperate climate in the country.

R.V. parks in the Victoria area are already filling up fast, if not already, and some of that traffic is sure to spread to communities around the Island. Availability is certain to become an issue and that’s good news for park owners who might not otherwise be looking at full lots.

At the same time, the active snowbirds have to find something to do and they’ll be frequenting cafes and restaurants for numerous meals throughout the winter months and the grocery stores to stock up on supplies needed for their R.V.s. They’ll also be scoping out the coffee shops.

Wineries could benefit significantly with an increase in visits to the many vineyards throughout the region, both to purchase product and take in the wonderful surroundings.

Spin-offs to other businesses, depending on restrictions, will create more spending.

A busier end to 2020 and start to 2021 will be welcomed by many retailers as well. They might be able to make up for some lost ground during the pandemic.

At least there’s a bit of a silver lining to the continued presence of the virus that’s affecting our every move. Normalcy is a long way away and the snowbirds will be adapting to a new environment, but it’ll be good for our local economy.

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