The return of the Calgary Stampede is a welcome event for many in the community — especially those in the food, drink, entertainment, and hotel and tourism sectors.
Billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the Calgary Stampede is always guaranteed to lure many visitors to the city who will inject money back into the economy. While the pandemic took a chunk out of the Stampede coffers, it’s no secret that many local businesses suffered, too.
But this year, the city is back into the full swing of things when it comes to the Stampede, says Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
“Stampede is one of our biggest events, and the fact that we haven’t been able to put it on has really kind of detracted,” Yedlin says. “Seeing it put on again this year and having the ability to showcase the city and our community will be so important.”
There are Stampede events planned across the city, especially in the inner city, which will bring foot traffic to many local businesses hosting a variety of different events, from food and drink to music and everything in between.
Yedlin says the pandemic affected so many Calgary businesses that they have felt the consequences to their bottom lines, and many were looking for something to kick-start business again.
There were not many sectors hit harder than the city’s tourism industry.
“I think when you look at it from a tourism perspective, it’s been a really tough time for the sector,” Yedlin says. “The bars suffered, the restaurants suffered, obviously the hotel rooms suffered.”
Now, the city’s taxi and rideshare industry, food, drink, and music scene, and hotel industry are about to experience a boost. Tourism Calgary officials expect numbers to reflect those of pre-pandemic times.
Stampede events create thousands of jobs and contribute more than $540 million to the Alberta economy almost every year.
With the additional support from the federal government funding, putting almost $12 million into this year’s Stampede, Calgary is looking to see a huge economic benefit from the show in a year like no other.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of people sticking around in a way that we haven’t been able to connect with since 2019; this is a great networking opportunity for people in a way to market your business,” Yedlin says.
“The thing about Stampede is that it’s the ‘great equalizer’ — you all want the same and you’re all standing around and the barriers are gone, there’s no hierarchy.”
Having an important job in keeping up Calgary’s economy, guests will also look towards a subject that has been under heavy discussion in the community; agriculture.
Globally, countries have been suffering from food and supply shortages. The attention to Calgary’s businesses, and especially agriculture, will be an important factor in establishing the benefits of the city.
“This is also an agriculture fair, and we have never talked about agriculture as much as we have in the last six months,” Yedlin says.
“We’re understanding the food shortages, the food security issues, and we see a lot of that on display at the Stampede. So yes it’s a party, but it’s also an agriculture fair, and I think it’s really important to highlight that.”
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