By Nicole Trigg

Pioneer Staff

The weather wasnt great. At least, not compared to the phenomenal early summer temperatures the valley lucked out with just a few weeks earlier. But no one appeared to notice. May long weekend brought thousands of visitors to Radium, Invermere and Fairmont, and even the little bit of wind and drizzle on Saturday and Sunday didnt seem to dampen anyones enthusiasm.

Most importantly, visitation was up in Fairmont Hot Springs. Despite last years devastating mudslide, which caused a drop in business, not only last summer but over the winter as well, the record number of visitors to the resorts hot pools this past weekend as well as the sold-out status of the main lodge can be taken as a pretty good indication that things will be looking up as we progress through 2013.

This most recent influx of tourism dollars to the valley overall will hopefully raise the spirits of business owners and their staff, many of whom have been struggling since 2008. The valleys Albertan tourists are back for another round of leisurely lake time, fabulous rounds of golf, and fun in the sun. Many event organizers have also noticed an increase in European and American visitors, which can be taken as a sign that the world economy is making a comeback.

Is the Columbia Valley ready for it? Yes, we are! And the upcoming media weekend hosted by the Columbia Valley Tourism Marketing Committee is one example of different people from across our region coming together to make something great happen for the local community, while keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

*A note for readers: Pioneer/Valley Echo editor Greg Amos had an unfortunate rock climbing accident at the popular Smoke Bluffs Park in Squamish on Saturday, May 11th while visiting family in the Lower Mainland. He is currently recovering from a broken femur and wrist, as well as facial surgery, but expects to be fully recovered in three months. In the meantime, Special Publications editor Nicole Trigg is taking over as news editor for both The Pioneer and The Valley Echo until his return.