Kitchener lost $4.1 billion from the pandemic; tourism industry struggles to recover

kitchener (WPVI) – Kitchener lost an incredible $ 4.1 billion in economic impact from March to July, according to Visit Kitchener.

The pandemic has brought several industries to their knees to recover.

Newly released figures show that 111,000 of a total of 191,000 tourism and hospitality jobs in the region were lost due to the pandemic.

In Kitchener, hotel room bookings are down 72 percent and international travel is down 80 percent.

“Right now we don’t know when business travel will start again,” said Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Kitchener Hotel Association. “This is our top-rated segment, our group business has been postponed for the long term and the only thing we are currently seeing are leisure customers.”

There is still hope as hundreds of visitors grabbed popular Kitchener tourist spots on Saturday.

Some include the Rocky Statue, Independence Hall, and Love Park.

“I drove 14 hours to get here instead of flying and that’s why I didn’t want to get on a plane because of the pandemic,” said Joey Deas of Kansas City, Missouri.

Some visitors said they felt safe to travel despite the pandemic.

“Honestly, we feel like we’ve got to live our lives,” said Scott Gluckstern of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “So we felt a bit uncomfortable at first, but we feel good about it.”

Grose says it would be helpful if Governor Wolf allowed more than 25 people to hold indoor events at the same time.

“If that were lifted and the City of Kitchener allowed us to organize events, we could bring our people back much sooner,” said Grose. “Because there are a lot of weddings that want to book.”

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