Published on : Thursday, July 15, 2021
Over the past 16 months, just about every business associated with the tourism sector has had to make some major changes. With the lifting of provincial public health orders on Sunday, however, many of those businesses and the tourism sector as a whole are hoping for a return to something resembling normal.
Tourism as an industry may well see a bounce-back as more people start travelling, and in Estevan the hope is local destinations will soon be able to show themselves off again. From local hotels and restaurants to attractions like Woodlawn Regional Park, the last half of this summer could be a big one for that sector.
“We’re really excited for visitors to come experience our back yard again,” said City of Estevan Destination Marketing and Communications Coordinator Rebecca Westling. “We have some great outdoor amenities. For those people who are not quite comfortable doing large events or big scale events, we still always have those hidden gems in our area.”
Discovering the hidden gems in the area and in one’s own back yard has been a running theme of the pandemic for Tourism Estevan. They adapted to the pandemic as best they could, and even came up with some events that will stick around afterward.
“We did a little bit specifically with our culinary tours because we couldn’t tour around in close quarters on the tour bus that we normally do,” Westling said. “But our plans are to open the tours again. We did the culinary months to offset that and to keep a light on our restaurant industry.”
Westling said she noticed more people out experiencing things in Estevan they might not have thought to look at before as their options for travel were limited. At Woodlawn Regional Park, for example, they noticed more local campers who hadn’t camped there before.
“Our parks and pathways were really busy during the pandemic,” she said. “It was just a great outlet and gave a good perspective for people. There were a lot of people in the Bike and Brew program, a lot of people out enjoying the pathways, Woodlawn Regional Park had some new trails built at their park.”
Westling added that things like sporting tourism and large events and tournaments were going to make a big difference for tourism in the area.