The province is using Saskatchewan tourism week, May 23-29, as a way to communicate the importance of planning for industry recovery and rebuilding a strong tourism sector as it prepares for the return of visitors.
Tourism Saskatchewan has a two-year Restart Marketing Strategy in place to help rejuvenate the industry from the fallout of COVID-19 restrictions. The plan focuses on how to strengthen tourism in the province and getting to a place where it’s better than before the coronavirus pandemic.
“This will be a time to pay tribute to tourism operators and businesses that have endured unprecedented challenges, and to an industry that showcases our province to the world and helps build a strong economy,” said Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for tourism.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism spending in the province reached $2.17 billion in 2019 and more than 11 million visits made to and within Saskatchewan.
The province said tourism-related employment hit 71,000 which is about 12 per cent of Saskatchewan’s total labour force.
In 2020, the province said spending dropped to $1.17 billion and about seven million visits to and within the borders of Saskatchewan. Employment declined 30 per cent in 2020 from 2019.
The Conference Board of Canada, which researches and analyzes economic trends, forecasts $1.71 billion in tourism spending and more than nine million visits for Saskatchewan in 2021.
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Pre-pandemic levels are not expected to return until 2023.
Tourism Saskatchewan is hosting three virtual tourism town hall meetings for industry operators and stakeholders on May 25, 26 and 27 – Let’s Talk Tourism: The Road to Recovery.
The meetings will address Tourism Saskatchewan’s Restart Marketing Strategy, research and trends, education and training, as well as opportunities to work with the organization and access various funding programs.
“There is renewed spirit and enthusiasm as Saskatchewan begins to reopen and plans proceed for rebuilding a strong tourism sector,” said Mary Taylor-Ash, Tourism Saskatchewan’s CEO.
“Tourism Saskatchewan looks forward to reconnecting with our industry through a series of virtual town halls. Throughout the week, we will also be sharing inspiring stories and encouraging Saskatchewan residents to discover the remarkable tourism experiences, products and destinations here at home.”
Further information regarding Saskatchewan tourism week visit industry.tourismsaskatchewan.com.