Downtown Calgary hurting from tourism drop
Some hotels report 15 per cent decrease in bookings
With cool temperatures and massive flooding, many Calgary businesses that count on summer for peak sales season are hurting.
Calgary's short summers mean businesses don't have long to take advantage of the tourist season. However, many say they are seeing sluggish sales numbers and don't know what will happen next.
"This should be my busiest time of the year," said Christine Cooper with Eau Claire Rapid Rent, a bike rental company. "I should just be rocking."
Part of the struggle for many is getting people out and doing the same activities they would normally do in summer.
Cooper says she thought things might get better after the flood — but now, Calgary is being plagued by cool weather.
"After the flood and the river opened, now it's a matter of getting people out there, but when the weather isn't all that great nobody wants to go out," she said.
Despite a rapid cleanup in order to host the Calgary Stampede, some hotels reported seeing a significant decrease in bookings.
"We had a drop in occupancy during what should have been a 100 per cent sell-out period for Stampede," said Fraser Abbot with the Kensington Riverside Inn. "We were off by about 15 percentage points."
However, not everyone was feeling the sting.
Businesses that rely on Calgarians' corporate credit cards say they have been largely insulated.
"Best Stampede, better numbers than before," said Adrian Francis, general manager at Ruth's Chris Steak House. "We recovered almost immediately."
For those in the hotel industry, Labour Day can't come soon enough.
It marks the start of the next tourism season and owners say it will be another opportunity to put this summer behind them.