Warmer temperatures aren’t the only thing returning to southern Alberta.
Tourism Lethbridge CEO Erin Crane said she is seeing more travellers stopping at the information centre, arriving at a pace similar to pre-pandemic levels.
“Going back to even 2019, we’re starting to see some of those same numbers coming in,” she said.
“Our visitor stats are about the same, and that is our goal for this year, to recapture where we were.”
That boost is also extending into the hospitality sector. Lethbridge Lodging Association (LLA) officials say business in the month of March was three times higher than last year.
They say they believe the reason behind that increase is the ability to host multiple events like the 2022 Brier with minimal public health restrictions.
“We absolutely needed that March from several perspectives,” LLA project manager Shilpa Stocker said. “Not only the revenue perspective, but also to show we can do it.
“We can host events. We are capable of providing the hospitality that Lethbridge is known for.”
While the current conditions have more travellers coming into the city, representatives like Crane are also hitting the road to promote the area at different events across the province.
“We are competing with all the other destinations for those visitor dollars,” she said. “It’s really important that we’re out, telling people about Lethbridge and the opportunities — and we’re differentiating ourselves from them.”
The hope is the successful spring will be a catalyst for an even busier summer as tourists begin planning their vacations.
“We are looking forward to hosting,” Stocker said.
“It’s beyond survival for us. It’s something we’ve needed for the last couple of years.”
“We are excited for a busy summer season,” Crane said.