Tourism industry hit by COVID-19

The current scenario: During the pandemic, dining areas in mall food courts are highly effected in the City of Calgary. (Photo by Priya Rani/The Press)

Calgary’s economy was hit the hardest by the downturn in tourism due to COVID-19, specifically in hotels and restaurants.

No country has been spared from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Different provinces of Canada have experienced the effect of the coronavirus pandemic at several degrees. Depending on the economic structure of the provinces of Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the economic blow.

Rob Roach, the financial deputy of ATB, said that it was definitely an unprecedented event of the decade to be experienced by the world. Hotel and tourism are one of the major sources of income for the Calgary region.

Jeff Hessel, the senior vice president of marketing for Tourism Calgary said, “The magnitude of the crisis implies that it will take long for this industry to fully recover.

As per the report of Vernon (2021), Alberta’s GDP experienced a shrink of 8.2 per cent due to the pandemic.

Statistics from the Alberta government have shown that revenue from the tourism industry is expected to experience a fall of 63 per cent compared to the pre-pandemic level. All investments in the tourism and hospitality sector faced a huge financial risk, and investors are worried about recouping their investment. The threat of contamination and the possibility of getting infected at busy places impacted tourism.

Apart from that, the restrictions on movement between provinces, as well as the closure of international borders to contain the contamination, affected the industry. It results in less occupancy of hotels.

The manager of Rivera’s hotel, Navjot Singh said, “Calgary indicates a significant decline in visitors to the hotel this summer, down 82 per cent in March, 77 per cent in April, and 76 per cent in May.

Hotels are crowded on normal days in this serene location, which has not been observed due to the recent hit of the pandemic. The safety and health security make the customers stay away and avoid luxury hotels due to the overcrowded nature of these businesses. Likewise, the restaurant industry is also suffering from the issues of the coronavirus pandemic.

The vacant restaurant: A store front reveals how COVID-19 has hit restaurants in Calgary at Sunridge Mall on the weekdays. (Photo by Priya Rani/The Press)

The marketing strategy and quality of the restaurants failed to attract enough customer attention as the pandemic imposed a threat to human health. Fahad Restaurant & Banquet Hall is famous for its Muslim cuisine, and the beautiful decor of the dining room and kitchen are a major attraction for visitors. It also suffers from the worst hit of the pandemic.

The manager of this restaurant, Sohaib Rashid said, “Restaurants suffer the most. Profits have declined by 60 per cent in May.”

“A restriction was also drawn over the occupancy of the restaurant, which was a negative sign for the restaurants to achieve their targeted goals,” Rashid said.

Apart from these organized business structures, the individual tourist experts also suffered due to the hit of the pandemic. It impacted the GDP of Alberta as well as Calgary.

The new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, has initiated restriction protocols again in various parts of Alberta. The executive director of the Calgary Hotel Association, Sol Zia, provided a statement regarding the impacts of the new Omicron variant and said, Calgary hotels are struggling with cash flow and the ability to cover basic operation, utility and people costs.”

Lack of tourist engagement to the restaurant impacted the business, and the lower profitability of the restaurants impacted the employability of this region. However, unemployment also impacted the average lifestyle and quality of living in Calgary. Hence, the worst hit of the pandemic is still there in the economic stability as well as the social lifestyle of the Calgary region.

About Priya Rani 2 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Priya Rani is working as a writer for The Press during the 2022 academic year.