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Rising fuel costs complicate summer travel planning in Saskatchewan

Hitting the open road is a pastime enjoyed by many Saskatchewan families, but with fuel prices hitting record highs across the province, many travellers and the tourism industry are keeping a close eye on their fuel gage.

“We’ll see a lot more people potentially staying closer to home or taking shorter driving trips,” said Amy McInnis, executive director of marketing and communications for Tourism Saskatchewan.

For those frequenting Saskatchewan’s many camp sites, the ever-climbing cost of gas has some people feeling the pinch.

“We didn’t use our vehicles that much in the winter so we figured we had saved up enough to go camping in the summer time,” said Glenn Ebert, who was staying at Pike Lake this past week. “But it definitely hurts because it costs $200 to fill up my truck every time.”

Others say for now, they are still planning multiple trips this summer despite the high fuel costs, but if the price at the pump continues to rise, they may consider staying home.

“We have a couple of places we like to go in the summer and we’re gonna make sure that happens, but there will probably be less just taking off for the weekends and camping that way,” said Kevin Brakefield, a Saskatchewan camper.

Gas prices aren’t just affecting road and camping trips, they’re also hitting air travel.

Tourism Saskatchewan said from February to April, airfares have jumped 13 per cent, which could make smaller trips more appealing.

“It’s not the best news for the travel industry, but I think there’s still a lot of great opportunities for us to attract local and nearby provincial travelers,” said McInnis.

Those who prefer to hit the water are also dealing with rising fuel costs.

“A lot of our boats were pre-sold over the winter so it hasn’t really affected us yet, but it’s definitely something consumers are questioning — how much fuel the boats use,” said Randy Malinoski, general manger of Martin Motor Sports Marine in Saskatoon.

“It has never been a question before but people are starting to question it.”

Overall, though, he says he isn’t concerned about the situation for boaters.

“Everybody uses their boats in such a short time in Saskatchewan so I feel a lot of people will keep using them. It’s not going to decrease the use as much as everybody thinks.”

Saskatchewan tourists will need to navigate the increase in fuel costs for a while yet, and while some might choose to stay home instead, others, like Sheena Wilcox, just want to get outside.

“We are gonna go,” she said. “It’s our time to camp so we’re gonna go.”

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