The cancellation of Air Canada flights between Saskatchewan’s two largest cities and Calgary in December has meant dollars lost for businesses in Saskatoon.
Discover Saskatoon says two major business events scheduled to be held in the Bridge City have already been cancelled because of a lack of connectivity.
“Just those two pieces of business alone were about $300,000 worth of loss, economic impact into the community. There’s definitely a broader economic impact that we’re seeing beyond that,” said executive director Steph Clovechok.
She says the perception of Saskatoon being difficult to access could also put events like the Junos, which was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, in jeopardy.
“We’ve got a couple of pieces of business in the pipeline that are equally significant to events like the Junos that will showcase our culture, music and our hosting capacity, and absolutely that’s always going to be a conversation,” said Clovechok.
TCU Place sales manager Joan Fior says rather than connecting flights from Calgary, people are having to fly to Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal to get to Saskatoon.
She says costing people more time and money to get to the city makes it more difficult for the convention centre, which is booking events as far into the future as five years.
“It’s a really important segment for our business,” said Fior.
“We typically do anywhere from eight to 10 large national conventions a year and one to two international. So, if we don’t have that business, yeah, it’s going to be a hit for us for sure.”
Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason Aebig says there’s a spin-off of people not making their way to Saskatoon for meetings.
“The ripple effect of that, from spending with our taxis and our