Tourism Saskatoon encourages people to explore their own backyards during COVID-19 pandemic
SASKATOON -- Travel is looking much different this year with many people staying home and enjoying their own cities — something Tourism Saskatoon is looking to tap into.
"Staycations like staying at one of our hotels, having a picnic along the riverbank, going out on the Prairie Lily on the river,” said Stephanie Clovechok, Vice President of Tourism Saskatoon.
Clovechok said it’s easy to forget what the city and province have to offer, so Tourism Saskatoon is shifting gears to focus on inspiring people in and around the city to shop, eat and experience local.
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“The more that we think about local, the more that we can think about how valuable our city is and how proud we should be to be here, the better off that we’re going to be and the stronger we’ll be coming out of COVID-19, so that when we do welcome visitors back to our city, there’ll be more of a sense of pride than we’ve ever had before,” Clovechok said.
In Waskesiu, traffic has picked up over the last two months, with hotels booked up until mid-August.
“We’re finding a lot of people don’t want to travel out of the province so they’re exploring Saskatchewan and we’re getting a lot of new visitors to Waskesiu, which is great,” said Randy Kershaw, treasurer with the Waskesiu Chamber of Commerce.
Tourism operators say they’re seeing more people coming in from Manitoba and Alberta — provinces that are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
At the province’s COVID-19 press conference Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe said it is recommended that inter-provincial travel be kept to “an absolute minimum” if possible.
“We ask people to be careful, we ask people to be cautious, we ask people to respect, actually we expect that they will abide by the public health recommendations and the orders that are in place here in the province,” he said.
That includes physical distancing guidelines and restrictions on how many people are allowed to gather.
Moe said he understands how important the tourism sector is to the economy, but said safety is a top priority.
While people are permitted to travel inter-provincially, it is recommended people stay home and explore their own backyards.
For people that do travel out-of-province, it is not mandatory to self-isolate for 14 days upon return but it is recommended to self-monitor for 14 days and self-isolate at the first sign of even mild symptoms, according to the province.