June 21, 2014 1:40 pm

Tourism Saskatoon says visitors have doubled

Watch the video above: national tourism leaders gather in Saskatoon

SASKATOON – According to Tourism Saskatoon, the rate of visitors coming into the city has more than doubled over the past six years.

Saskatoon brings in about $530 million from tourism each year, with 2.1 million visits.

But all the new visitors need accommodation and it’s not always available.

This weekend, hotels were fully booked weeks in advance, with some tourists being turned away.

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Hosting the Saskatchewan jazz festival, a Cher concert and a pride parade all in one weekend, visitors from across Canada have travelled to the Bridge City.

Fortunately, more hotel rooms are being built to keep up with the demand.

“We have eight new properties that are going to be opening up in Saskatoon in the next two-year period. That’s going to bring 1,000 new rooms,” said Todd Brandt, Tourism Saskatoon CEO and president.

It’s tourism week in Saskatchewan, making it a fitting time for a gathering of national leaders on Friday.

The Canadian Tourism Commission says Saskatoon’s focus on attracting international conventions is a smart plan and it’s paying off.

“If international visitors come into Saskatchewan for purposes of maybe a first conference or taking their first trip, next thing you know, they will want to bring their kids,” said Jon Mamela, with the commission.

“At the same time they want to invest in the province.”

“We need a solid amount of domestic tourists, but we also need those business travelers,” said Rob Taylor, with the Tourism Industry Association.

“Foreign visitors spend three times as much and stay longer than a domestic traveller,” Taylor explained.

Saskatoon was recently featured as a prime tourism destination in Canadian Living Magazine. The article highlighted 12 of the city’s most popular attractions.

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