The president and CEO of Hospitality Saskatchewan says the tourism industry has made it through the pandemic so far and has done much better than expected.
Jim Bence says the original projections were for 60 to 70 per cent losses for food, beverage and hotel operators. The numbers are still coming in, but he notes how it seems no hotels permanently closed related to the pandemic. However out of about 2,700 restaurants in the province, around 500 closed.
Bence suggests the emergency funding from both the federal and provincial governments helped keep businesses open.
He believes there is now a greater appreciation for the tourism and hospitality industries since the pandemic, especially when everything was locked down. It has also expanded awareness of what is available in Saskatchewan and in local communities because more people have been exploring inside the provincial borders.
Bence says Canadians spend billions on international travel, and if a quarter of that was spent in the country, that would be a lot of money coming back to operators that just barely made it through.
He hopes more people will explore Saskatchewan and explore Canada.