With the end of the pandemic appearing to be within sight and vaccination rates increasing, Tourism Abbotsford has a simple message to visitors and locals – let’s go do something.
After 15 months of dwindling activity, Tourism Abbotsford believes the potential is there to have a solid summer.
The damage from the pandemic bruised local hotels, restaurants and retail, with approximately 200,000 fewer overnight visitors in 2020 than 2019. That number represents a roughly 50 per cent decline. Hotel occupancy rates, which ranged from 60 per cent in down times to 90 per cent in the summer, plummeted to as low as 25 per cent in slower times.
The Let’s Go Do Something campaign, which launched earlier this month, aims to raise awareness of all that Abbotsford has to offer. Over the coming weeks, videos, blogs and local influencers will be sharing their experiences of visiting Abbotsford. There will also be a giveaway open to anyone that will see winners awarded a two-night stay in an Abbotsford hotel and $500 spending money.
We’ve been expecting you! From local wineries and breweries to outdoor adventures and family fun, there is something for everyone to discover in Abbotsford. https://t.co/RgNKC5poKe pic.twitter.com/xRwjzHw6Uk
— Tourism Abbotsford (@TourismAbby) June 17, 2021
Craig Nichols, the executive director for Tourism Abbotsford, said the campaign was created to shine more light on all the city has to offer.
“I know we’ve all been cooped up the last few months and I know everyone is super excited to get out and do stuff but we’re just so proud of Abbotsford,” he said. “We have so much great stuff here and the idea is to encourage people in the next few months to go out there, do things and have fun. We want to help that out in any way we can.”
Nichols said he has been encouraged by the return of some events and believes that will be a big factor in a bounce back summer.
“That’s one of the more exciting things that we’re seeing the past couple of weeks,” he said. “The Abbotsford Airshow doing a drive-in event – to have such an iconic event is a sign for really the whole province that events are coming back.”
He added he’s also excited about the Hockeyfest event at Abbotsford Centre in July, a planned softball tournament in August and more outdoor concerts based on the success of last year’s Sun and Soil concert series. Nichols said because Abbotsford doesn’t have beaches or other notable summer attractions, it is events that draws people in during the warmer months.
Events elsewhere also have a positive impact on Abbotsford, as Nichols said many tourists chose to stay in Abbotsford because of affordability and convenience to attend nearby attractions. More of those opening up will be good for local business.
But Nichols said to not sleep on what Abbotsford offers. He stated that two underrated activities include birding and cycling. Abbotsford’s parks and trails are home to a number of unique birds and in recent years has developed into a birder destination. Local roads and trails for cycling have also expanded and offer variety and the chance to enjoy the outdoors.
He said he hopes to see hotel rates get in the 60 to 80 per cent range this summer, and if the border reopens that number could be equal to pre-pandemic times. Nichols said
For more information on the campaign, visit tourismabbotsford.ca/lets-go-do-something.