Thousands to pay a visit to Calgary during Stampede, generating millions in revenue

Come hell or no water, it’s all systems go for the Calgary Stampede.

Stampede CEO Joel Cowley says the event is as old as Calgary itself.

“I say that because we began as the Calgary District and Agricultural Society in 1884, the same year that the Town of Calgary was incorporated,” he said. “So we’ve been around for 140 years.”

Nearly 1.4 million people stomped through Stampede Park last year, and the numbers look promising this time around.

Numbers released by the festival say year-round, it generates $540 million dollars for the province and $282 million for the local economy.

Cowley credits visitors moseying into town to spend their money over the 10-day festival.

“They’re spending that on hotels, on restaurants, on entertainment, and Uber rides, and taxi rides, and every Calgarian, every Albertan, benefits from that support,” he said.

Now is Calgary’s time to shine — a 2023 Conde Nast traveler survey named it the friendliest city in the world.

Calgary Tourism CEO Alysha Reynolds says that’s something you can hang your hat on.

“We have a chance now to show that amazing western friendly hospitality to everyone coming to the city,” she said. “We have projections of 138,000 people coming to stay in hotels and motels in Calgary over the next 10 days as well as visiting family and friends and colleagues who will stay with their loved ones and connections in Calgary.

“Visitation is looking strong and hotel performance is looking very strong as well, and that’s always a key driver to figure out how we’re doing from a visitation perspective.”

Brad Parry, CEO of Calgary Economic Development, says the Stampede epitomizes community

“Events like the Stampede, which is core to our city, for now and the future, makes our job easier because our job is to bring the best and the brightest to the city for years to come,” he said.

Cowley says the Caravan Committee will also head out on the range to bring the Stampede experience to Calgary’s neighbourhoods.

“That maybe for some who are reluctant to come here it may be for others that may find it to be beyond their reach of affordability to come on parks,” he said.

It’ll be all boots on the ground at Stampede Park, especially with added pressure on the city’s potable water supply. But, Cowley says the organization has rounded up a plan.

“One of those was to use non-potable water for outdoor uses and so you’ll see all the new sod and the new landscaping here at the BMO Centre has been watered since restrictions went in place with non-potable water,” he explained.

He adds that non-potable water from the Elbow River will also be used for cleaning and sanitation.

Stage Four outdoor water restrictions are still in place, as is a fire ban.

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