Op/Ed – On Now In Abbotsford: The Economic Impact of Our Local Events

Abbotsford (Nichola Derksen/Tourism Abbotsford) – Events have long been a driver of tourism activities in Abbotsford, from trade shows to concerts and everything in between, there’s always something happening in town. Although most events are locally focused, many bring in a crowd from Metro Vancouver, Washington State and beyond. These events have a tremendous impact on the local economy.

Bloom, The Abbotsford Tulip Festival, sees nearly 90,000 people through its gates in April and May, with most of the attendees coming from the Metro Vancouver area. The Abbotsford International Airshow, arguably Abbotsford’s most well-known event, brings enough people into town to see hotel occupancy at 100% during that weekend. The Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre, better known as Tradex, hosts a variety of tradeshows and events throughout the year. The Pacific Agriculture Show, which occurs every January at Tradex for the past 21 years, sees hotel occupancy rates jump to 90% in a month where it is usually around 50%. Two of their busiest shows, the Vancouver Motorcycle Show and the BC Sportsmen’s Show, each see over 30,000 people through their doors over the weekend.

Sports are a huge driver of events and tourism in Abbotsford. 2018’s BC Highschool Boys Rugby Championship saw an economic impact of $643,600 in the community and contributed to a 97% hotel occupancy rate. Another rugby event, the BC Rugby Club finals brought 2,200 attendees to town for an economic impact of $186,507. Fraser Valley Throwdown, a crossfit tournament held at the Abbotsford Centre, is a recurring event that has brought over $330,000 in revenue to Abbotsford each year since 2016.

The Abbotsford Centre hosted 10 sold out shows in 2017 and sold 106,730 tickets overall throughout the year for an economic impact of $18.8 million dollars! The number of events held each year has been steadily increasing with many attendees traveling from out of town to catch a show. 62% of Abbotsford Centre attendees came from outside of the Fraser Valley, with 18% staying overnight in Abbotsford for an event. Of that 18%, 55% stayed in commercial accommodation, increasing the economic impact of those events.

Sumas Mountain is home to a wide variety of unique events. Trail running is becoming increasingly more popular and we have seen that in the participation rate year after year in the Run for Water, which takes place every May along with The Valley Vertikiller which happens in October. Sumas Mountain is home to several wonderful mountain biking and hiking trails as well!

Ready to see what all the fuss is about? Some of Abbotsford’s most exciting events are happening over the next few months and you won’t want to miss out! Catch Little Big Town at the Abbotsford Centre on March 2nd, Lynryd Skynyrd will take the stage on March 15th, and Jim Gaffigan brings the laughs on April 11th. At Tradex you can’t miss the Pet Lover’s Show February 23rd & 24th and the BC Sportsmen’s Show March 1st-3rd. Get out your rain boots and head to the tulip fields beginning April 15th for the return of Bloom, The Abbotsford Tulip Festival!

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