Here in Abbotsford and across the country, the tourism and hospitality industry has been impacted severely by the pandemic. It was, as Destination Canada noted, the “first hit, the hardest hit and will be the last to recover.”
It’s also why, as we look forward to the gradual, safe return to local travel, this is the ideal time to celebrate local perseverance and creativity.
This Tourism Week 2021, May 23 to 30, we celebrate the resiliency of Abbotsford’s tourism and hospitality businesses, salute their numerous innovations over the past year, and commit to supporting them through their recovery. Canadians coast-to-coast are also called on to take the 2021 Tourism Pledge to Travel in Canada, and of course, continue our support right here at home – a way to come together as a country and support our local tourism destinations, businesses and employees.
And that’s good for everyone: Before COVID-19 hit, 2019 tourism revenue in British Columbia measured $22.3 billion, up 5.6 per cent over 2018. The industry also employed 149,000 people in 2019 – a growth of 1.8 per cent of 2018.
While those numbers were significantly affected by the pandemic, tourism-related businesses here in Abbotsford and around the province adapted, working hard to keep customers safe, pivot their business models, and offer innovative experiences such as outdoor dining and drive-through events.
Celebrating people, Places & Experiences
Tourism is about people, places, and the experiences they produce, and this week, we look forward with hope to a period of recovery, and the time when we’ll again share more fully the experiences of this remarkable place.
“Coming off record growth in 2019, tourism was a significant contributor to our local, regional, and provincial economies. All that changed in March of 2020. Since then, we have seen resilience, ingenuity, collaboration and sheer determination from our hospitality businesses in the face of the most prolonged period of challenges they’ve ever faced,” says Tourism Abbotsford Executive Director Craig Nichols. “This year during Tourism Week, we aim to recognize this steadfastness and resiliency and invite everyone to come together and support our local tourism destinations, businesses, and employees.”
“While travel restrictions remain in place, we know people will travel again soon and ask residents to support the tourism industry by planning to travel locally this year, once restrictions are lifted. During Tourism Week, we invite everyone to take the ‘Travel in Canada’ pledge.”
After all, you’ll find few better places than Abbotsford, with its wide-open spaces, welcoming community spirit and connection to the land, to re-emerge from the pandemic and safely stretch your legs once again!