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Regina Beach businesses weathering the storm due to an increase in tourism

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Many businesses across the province are facing the possibility of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. But with many travel plans on hold, people are flocking to small tourist towns, like Regina Beach, where local businesses say they're bucking the trend. Katelyn Wilson has more – Aug 28, 2020

With many travel plans on hold, people in Saskatchewan are flocking to small tourist towns like Regina Beach, where some local businesses said the increase in tourism is helping weather the storm.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, real estate broker Judy Forster said she was worried about what it would mean in terms of sales.

Read more: Saskatchewan restaurants face uncertainty as new data shows six out of 10 could go under

But the owner of Forster Realty said sales this year are actually above average.

“We had a lot of inventory to start out, but we are getting very low on inventory,” Forster said.

“Lots of cabins have sold and higher-priced homes. There were a lot of people who were staying in the parks with their mobiles and RVs and they’re saying ‘you know what, we’d prefer to have a cabin.'”

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With staycations becoming the new norm, many are choosing to stay closer to home.

Whether it’s buying real estate or spending the day at the beach, many local businesses like Rudy’s Regina Beach said they’ve seen an increase in foot traffic.

Read more: Summer staycation: How Saskatchewan is faring for provincial tourism

“For the most part we are doing very well,” owner, Lori Zak said. “Economically it’s been a wonderful year for us.”

Even though many businesses across the province are feeling the pinch, Zak said the lure of the beach is drawing people in.

“[Tourists] are coming back two, three and four times because they’re having fun,” Zak said.

“The support from the community and communities around Regina beach has been amazing. I think because travel isn’t a good idea at the moment, people are staying within Saskatchewan and enjoying some of the things we can do here at the beach.”

Up the street, at the Regina Beach Golf Course, golfers have been flocking to the fairways.

Read more: Coronavirus: Tourism industry gets financial support from Saskatchewan government

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“Once the beach was opened it was super busy out here. People were coming from the city, coming from Moose Jaw, coming from all over to be out here,” pro shop manager Ryan Pardy said.

“Because you can distance out here, it’s thrived in my mind. We’ve done really well that way.”

Even with a late start to the season, Pardy said membership sales are up across the board.

“Generally, it’s this time of the year, around August, when we hit 10,000 rounds. This year, it was the second week of July when we hit that mark,” Pardy said.

It’s a mark these businesses say they never expected to hit. But with many travel plans on hold, it’s clear people are choosing to explore the beauty of their own backyard instead.

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