Saskatchewan Tourism Week (May May 23re-29th) is an opportunity to both promote our beautiful parks, and for the province to communicate the importance of planning for industry recovery, building a resilient tourism sector and preparing for the return of visitors.

Pre-pandemic, tourism spending in Saskatchewan reached $2.17 billion in 2019. There were 11.82 million visits made to and within the province that year. Tourism-related employment hit 71,100, making up 12 per cent of Saskatchewan’s total labour force.

Estimates for 2020 show that spending dropped to $1.17 billion and the province saw 7.07 million visits to and within its borders.  Employment declined 30 per cent over the previous year, with roughly 49,800 people employed in the tourism sector in August 2020.

According to The Conference Board of Canada, there is optimism with $1.71 billion in tourism spending and 9.42 million visits forecast for Saskatchewan in 2021.  However, full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is not expected until 2023.

Tourism Saskatchewan’s two-year Restart Marketing Strategy envisions a way forward to a rejuvenated tourism industry. The detailed plan outlines possible scenarios to guide tactics to speed recovery, and has an ultimate goal to lead industry to a position stronger and better than before the pandemic.

“There is renewed spirit and enthusiasm as Saskatchewan begins to reopen and plans proceed for rebuilding a strong tourism sector,” Tourism Saskatchewan CEO Mary Taylor-Ash said.  “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.”

The agenda includes presentations on the Restart Marketing Strategy, research and trends, education and training, as well as opportunities to work with Tourism Saskatchewan and access various funding programs that can aid tourism businesses. The town hall meetings are designed to offer two-way dialogue and feature a breakout component with facilitated discussion among industry participants.

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