Edmonton’s tourism industry keen to bounce back from pandemic – Edmonton
With the province and the rest of the world slowly getting past the COVID-19 pandemic, Edmonton’s tourism industry is hoping to return to business as usual, but it may take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels.
To say the tourism industry has struggled is an understatement for Claudio Ongaro, owner of Ongaro’s Outdoor Outfitters.
“We rely entirely on the tourism sector.
A recent report from the ATB tourism sector shows that Alberta had just over 3,000 international visitors in March of this year, compared to over 100,000 in March 2019.
“We went from 100% complete to zero,” said Ongaro.
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He said virtually all of his clients are from the United States and overseas.
But with the increase in vaccinations and the easing of travel restrictions, there is optimism that the industry is recovering.
“I’m very optimistic and talk to my clients every day and it looks like they’re starting to book tickets and they’re ready to come.
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“I am complete. I was full last year from the guys who wanted to come back after the 2019 season, ”said Ongaro.
But while the plans are in the works, it is still a waiting situation.
“The recovery is going to be slow,” said Daniel St. Pierre, director of Explore Edmonton. “The tourism industry was the first affected … and it will take the longest to recover.”
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St. Pierre said they are working to improve local attractions while working with all levels of government and the airport to potentially accommodate an influx of domestic and international visitors.
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“As things open up, we see these guidelines unfolding and hitting the benchmarks.
“We can start marketing, starting at the regional level, moving to the national level, and then we will go back to international markets to try to attract visitors to the city.”
If restrictions continue to open, Saint-Pierre said he hoped for an increase in local tourism activity by the end of the summer.
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