by City of Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman
Hi Winnipeg, it’s a pleasure to be back for my fourth column with Smart Biz.
Summer is upon us – a sometimes short and sweet season here in Winnipeg. And although Winnipeggers know how to embrace winter more than anyone, many of us live for the hot prairie summers. It’s a fantastic time for tourism in our city, because there is so much going on!
From Folklorama to Fringe Fest, the packed patios at our many top quality restaurants, the Bombers and Goldeyes games, our many magnificent lakes (only a short drive from the city), in addition to our year-round attractions like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Forks, Journey to Churchill at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, and so much more… it’s no wonder National Geographic recently named us among the best trips on earth.
Tourism is not only an opportunity to show off our great city, it’s also an economic driver in Winnipeg.
We are a growing, thriving, and diverse city at the geographic heart of the continent, and we are on track to reach one million people strong. We currently welcome on average 3.5 million visitors per year for leisure, business, and other personal reasons, and these visitors spend an estimated $635 million –from transportation, food and beverage, accommodation, recreation/entertainment and retail related expenses.
Increased tourism also creates new ambassadors for Winnipeg and, most importantly, more jobs for our residents.
But Winnipeg is still underrated as a tourism spot by many of our neighbours – both within Canada and abroad. This is something I feel strongly about changing, and when I was elected Mayor I committed to increasing tourism by 50 per cent.
We’ve already made some important strides, bringing huge events to Winnipeg like the 2015 Grey Cup last year, the Biennial Liberal Convention and Centrallia in May, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference and Trade Show in June, the second largest pro Challenger tennis tournament in Canada coming up this month, and next year’s Canada Summer Games.
I am also committed to continuing to travel the nation to promote our lively city in the centre of Canada, and drive the message that Winnipeg is ready to welcome the nation… year round.
Our international reputation is growing, and so is our pride. I know that we can continue to build momentum with exciting events, one-of-a-kind attractions, and our renowned friendly hospitality.
We are very fortunate in Winnipeg to have such an impassioned community of ambassadors, and I want to thank all of you for doing your part to tirelessly promote Winnipeg as a leading tourist destination and to ensure the city we all love leaves a positive, lasting impression on those who visit.
Happy July, everyone!