April 16, 2024 – With so much going on in our city, and in our lives, why should we celebrate Saskatchewan Tourism Week? Tourism is a primary driver of economic, social and cultural development in a city. It is a magnet that draws people in for shared experiences and memorable moments – and like anything else that is important – it deserves to be nurtured and celebrated. At TCU Place, we are in the unique position of being at the heart of both business tourism and leisure tourism, and we don’t ever take that for granted.

Saskatchewan Tourism Week is April 15 – 19. This is our chance to shine a spotlight on our province’s dynamic and diverse tourism landscape. On the heels of Global Meetings Industry Day (April 11th), we are reminded of the incredible impact that meetings, conferences, and business events have on our community and economy, through focused and immersive tourism. This week we have our largest client event in-house for 4 days all in – complete with educational sessions, a trade show, evening entertainment and more. Many of the 800 delegates are here from outside of Saskatoon – but within Saskatchewan, and while they are here, they are enjoying not only the conference but the immersive and unique Saskatoon experiences all around us. The restaurants around us are busier, Midtown Plaza is busier, hotels are full, hotel lobbies are bustling, parking lots are fuller, and the streets (and our building) are festive with an energy that is palpable.

If this is what business tourism does for a city – let me box it and sell it, or open it up whenever I need a dose of that energy! And YES – let’s celebrate it! Business tourism offers the power of connection, networking, and professional learning that all boost a city and positively impact our community. Every shared experience underscores the impact that tourism has on a community and helps businesses to thrive. Ah… that’s the power that events and tourism have in a city.

If you follow any kind of news in Saskatoon, you will likely know that we are on the cusp of planning a new downtown event and entertainment district (DEED) comprised of a re-imagined convention centre, a new event centre (arena), incredible new green space, a public plaza space for wandering, and a new bus rapid transit system. It will be a central gathering place for our city with next-generation infrastructure and out-of-this-world energy.  You will also likely have heard the controversy around parking, safety, and dollars. Should we really be spending all this money on venues? Well, we believe that it is our turn to ensure that Saskatoon stays on the map and is a major player on the Prairies and beyond. It’s our turn to pay it forward. And when we look at the draw that this district will have – to the tune of about $1Billion in payback, and helping other businesses to thrive – can we really afford not to?

Tourism cannot be stagnant. It must keep reinventing, re-imagining, and elevating in order to boost a region’s impact to the fullest. Our DEED project will create the strongest tourism magnet that Saskatchewan has seen in decades…and you know what? We are worth it.

You may be thinking that it is a loooong way off, and not relevant for this year’s Tourism Week. I’ll challenge you to think differently. If we can have conversations about how important this district is, if we champion it in our community, if we share information and answers to questions, then just maybe we can propel it forward driven by the momentum of the people who will benefit the most – our community. So, this Tourism Week, enjoy a new experience, imagine yourself immersed in the future of our downtown event and entertainment district, and invite others along for the ride. Open your homes and your calendars to invite a friend from out of province to also come and enjoy the beauty of Saskatoon. It’s a short drive and a memorable return with limitless possibilities to explore.

Tammy Sweeney, CEO
TCU Place – Saskatoon’s Arts & Convention Centre