Events like the Jazz Festival bring thousands of people to Saskatoon and its riverside hotels including the Bessborough, Sheraton, Delta Marriott, Alt Hotel and Park Town Hotel.
With most events being postponed or canceled, the result is less demand for hotel rooms along the strip.
“To go downtown now when typically you would be feeling a lot of energy and people getting excited about what’s coming,” said Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association president and CEO Jim Bence, “it’s really a ghost town.”
Tourism Saskatoon director of media Sarah Berger says the occupancy rate is roughly four percent or less for hotels in downtown including those along the river.
“Some of our hotels have opened their doors to front-line workers right now,” she said.
“Some have focused on renovations in this down period. Some have simply been forced to shut their doors for the time being.”
The Alt Hotel has been operating for just over a year now.
Although it’s not much, they say they are still getting business from mainly from Saskatchewan customers.
“There is still government business going on and they are driving up from Regina right now, and some of the smaller centres,” said Corinne Lund, Alt hotel general manager.
Front-line workers and truckers can rent out a portion of the Park Town Hotel in a designated area known as the west wing.
“A lot of people are using that to self-isolate,” explained Salil Kulkarni, Park Town Hotel general manager.
He says people are traveling from outside the country, outside the province so they coming in and they are quarantining for about 14 days.
Bence says it could take from 24 to 30 months before hotels along the river and the rest of downtown get back to the numbers they had before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.