The District of Sicamous Chamber of Commerce saw a successful 2022. (File photo)

The District of Sicamous Chamber of Commerce saw a successful 2022. (File photo)

Sicamous Chamber of Commerce bounces back in 2022

Events return and chamber helps businesses thrive after pandemic

The Sicamous Chamber of Commerce had a successful year in 2022, as in-person events were allowed again and businesses bounced back after pandemic struggles.

Sheila Devost, the chamber’s executive director, presented an update of the year’s major milestones at the Dec. 14 Sicamous council meeting. This was the first time the chamber has presented to the newly elected council.

The Sicamous Visitor Centre welcomed more visitors than the past two years, up to 2,555 parties that came into the centre in 2022 from 1,911 in 2021. Many locals vacationed in Sicamous this summer, with 988 Shuswap-area residents coming to the centre between June and August, over 2021’s 634. Visitors also came from farther away than in the past two years as travel restrictions eased. Devost’s statistics showed three parties from Washington and two from California, where last year none had come from either location. Ninety-eight visitors came from Europe in 2022 compared to 2021’s one European visitor.

Fewer Albertans visited, with 263 visitors in 2022, down from 466 in 2021.

The chamber hosted all-candidate forums during the municipal election campaign that Devost said were well attended. As forums aren’t usually put on by the Sicamous chamber, they weren’t in its budget so additional costs were involved, Devost said. The chamber paid to use locations to hold the forums, for labour to set up the spaces and for costs such as transporting seniors to voting places. Devost said she hopes in four years during the next election campaign the chamber and the district will have a better plan in place.

The chamber also hired three summer students to work concession at events and distribute promotional material as the Info on the Go team. Pinnacle Resorts gifted the chamber new bikes to allow the students to get around, replacing bikes that had been stolen during the summer.

READ MORE: New Sicamous resort owners step up for student community ambassadors

Devost mentioned that the new business directory lists all businesses in town, even if the business isn’t a chamber member. It was helpful for visitors to have contact information listed for every business in one place, Devost said.

The Excellence in Business awards were held Nov. 25 to recognize new businesses opening in 2022 and celebrate how business owners made changes to their operations in the community.

The chamber will have an updated plan regarding bylaws, policies and strategies in the new year. Council members thanked Devost and the chamber board for its strength in the community, advocating for businesses and speaking on Sicamous’ behalf.

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