Gimli sees jump in visitors as Manitobans opt for staycations

GIMLI, MAN. — While Manitobans can travel outside the province, many are choosing staycations right here at home – a move that is being welcomed by one of Manitoba’s lakeside communities.

Adam and Crystal Markewich took a day trip to Gimli. The couple said they haven’t been to the lakeside community for years but, on Saturday, they made the drive to enjoy the weather and grab some fish and chips.

“I’ve been once years and years ago for hockey, and she came as a kid with her grandparents, so haven’t been for a while and decided to do something different,” Adam said.

He said a lot of other people appear to be taking day trips in Gimli as well.

“With COVID being more and more relaxed now, too, they’re trying to get out and about and get back to kind of normal lives, so it seems busy here today.”

The beach and the weather aren’t the only things drawing people into the rural municipality this summer – the Gimli Film Festival is also grabbing people’s attention.

Alan Wong, the manager of the festival, said the turnout this year has been very good.

“We’ve had just as many, if not more numbers in terms of viewers and pass buyers and tickets buyers and that sort of thing online as last year,” he said. “And then this year we have the addition of the drive-in, the pop-up drive in.”

Lynn Greenberg, the mayor of the RM of Gimli, said he’s noticed an uptick in tourism in the municipality this summer.

“There’s been quite an increase in people coming to visit Gimli,” he said. “They’re coming in to enjoy the beach and everything, so definitely the numbers are up.”

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce said with the American border still closed for travel – many Manitobans are taking day trips to the tourist destinations in Manitoba.

“I would expect that business will be brisk and good for a lot of these places that have sort of been tourist destinations,” Chuck Davidson, the president and CEO of the chamber, told CTV News.

“A lot of people got a first chance to do that last summer, they’re taking advantage of it this summer as well.”

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