Curlers throwing cold hard stones are bringing in some cold hard cash for Saskatchewan during the Tim Hortons Brier this week.
The curling tournament runs from March 3 – 11 at the Brandt Centre. According to Tourism Regina, approximately $10 million will be generated for the province in those nine days.
“What that really means for the city is visitors who otherwise wouldn’t be here. Coming to the city, spending money at hotels, restaurants, transportation and enjoying everything our city has to offer,” said Kirk Morrison, director of events, conventions and trade shows with Tourism Regina.
With several big events coming to the city, including concerts, the Brier, the Memorial Cup and the Canadian Pacific leg of the LPGA tour this summer, Morrison said Regina is establishing itself as an international destination for events.
“It’s pretty important. I think it contributes to a lot of employment, a lot of jobs for people in the service industry, people in the hospitality industry,” said Morrison.
“That’s a really important part of the economy and it contributes to quality of life that we all enjoy.”
Hotels ready for influx
“We’re ready to accommodate thousands of guests over the next 10 days,” said Tracy Fahlman, president and CEO of the Regina Hotel Association.
Fahlman said that in the past five years Regina has experienced a surge in the number of hotel rooms. In fact, she said there are now 4,000 rooms available across the city’s 33 hotels. That’s 800 additional rooms — or 25 per cent more — than in 2013.
During the Brier, the University of Regina Cougars basketball team will host the national women’s basketball U Sport tournament. Amid the sporting events and concerts being held, the city hotels are 85 per cent full in March, said Fahlman.
During March of 2017 hotel occupancy rates were 55 per cent. Fahlman attributes the lower rate of occupancy to there not being any big national events in the city at the time, but said 2017 as a whole was slow for the hotel industry.