Saskatchewan is on the upswing in the tourism industry, based on the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

According to recent data, tourism expenditures in Saskatchewan are seeing a strong increase.

“Travel spending reached almost $2.85 billion in 2023, outpacing the $2.4 billion in spending that was generated in 2022,” a release stated. “Similarly, hotel occupancy rates and revenue for 2023 showed significant growth over the previous year.”

The CEO of Tourism Saskatchewan said there are numerous reasons why people are touring Saskatchewan.

“We’re well known for our outdoor experiences are national, provincial and regional parks always do very well,” Jonathan Potts said. “Over the last few years, people also come for hunting and fishing…. People are starting to come out to festivals and events again, too, which is fantastic.”

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According to Potts, there are more than  3,000 tourism businesses across the province in a $2.85-billion industry. Saskatchewan’s domestic travel grew more than any other province in the country last year. Saskatchewan experienced 21 per cent growth in overnight visitation in 2023, according to the release.

The minister responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan stated the province set an “ambitious target” in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan for a 50 per cent increase in annual tourism expenditures by the year 2030.

“These latest figures show that our tourism industry is on track to achieving that goal,” Jeremy Harrison said.

The hotel industry in Saskatchewan is also seeing an uptick. The president and CEO of Hospitality Saskatchewan said they are starting to get back to the pre-pandemic numbers.

“I think we’re seeing an increase in occupancy. So, more people, more heads in beds and we’re also seeing a lift in rate,” Jim Bence said. “That’s really important when you put those two together. It allows us to make up some of those devastating losses that our hotel saw for three years.”

According to a release, the Conference Board of Canada predicts that tourism revenues will continue to increase and estimates that Saskatchewan will reach approximately $3.57 billion in annual visitor expenditures in 2028.