The City of Airdrie has officially proclaimed May 23 to 30 as Tourism Week, as a way to recognize the positive impact the tourism industry and its workers have on the economy.
The timing of the proclamation is significant, as local tourism-focused businesses and organizations are still hurting from restrictions brought on the COVID-19 pandemic. Many tourism workers live in Airdrie, whether they own a business that caters to visitors, organize events that bring in people from other communities or work at the nearby Calgary International Airport.
Tourism’s positive impact on Alberta’s economy is well documented. According to statistics presented at Airdrie City council’s May 17 meeting, tourism contributed $8.2 billion to Alberta’s economy in 2019. About 68,000 Albertans made their living through tourism jobs that year, with their incomes contributing roughly $6.5 billion to the province’s GDP. It’s good to see the City of Airdrie recognize the sector’s positive impact.
While Airdrie is admittedly not thought of as a tourist destination, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism-specific businesses have still been felt locally. Two local hotels have gone into receivership and many visitor-focused companies have been repeatedly forced to adapt their business models or close entirely. Public event planners in Airdrie have seen their incomes dry up as gatherings continue to be postponed or cancelled.
Therefore, we are pleased the City is launching a new campaign, titled ‘Summer Stop: Airdrie,’ aimed at encouraging local residents to hold “staycations” in town this year. With international and inter-provincial travel still either not allowed or heavily frowned upon, vacationing Airdronians will be forced to look to their own backyard this summer for recreational pursuits.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Airdronians should use their 2021 vacations this summer to re-connect with their city and region, and enjoy all the amenities and business this community has to offer.