St. John’s has taken major steps to accommodate a growing tourism industry and now possibly has too many rooms at the inn.
Many events occur in the St. John’s area, like the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier, which require accommodations for the thousands visiting the province every year.
In previous years, the city suffered from a lack of available hotel rooms. However, St. John’s city council member, Sandy Hickman, says things have changed.
“We have seen great growth in hotel rooms over the last five years,” said Hickman. “There are two hotels finishing off now in construction and that will bring us to where we need to be. In order to host major conventions and sporting events such as the brier, we needed a certain amounts of rooms and we are there now.”
In the St. John’s area, there are 22 hotels with two more currently in the construction stage.
Hickman also adds that these hotels have a positive impact on tourism for the city.
“These hotels affect the economy in a very positive manner,” said Hickman. “It allows more people to visit, more conventions to be hosted, more major events to be hosted and therefore, every person that visits leaves money behind. We are certainly happy with the growth of hotels as a city. It has helped the economy a lot and it then provides a tax base to the city.”
Cathy Duke is the chief executive officer for Destination St. John’s.
“When you think of the hotel industry, you have to think about who comes to your city and what the demand would be for accommodations,” said Duke. “I think right now we certainly do have enough hotel rooms to meet our demand.
“It’s important for us to have enough hotel rooms to meet that demand.”
Duke explains there are certain types of businesses they look at to determine how many hotels are needed.
“We look at three different types of businesses that would require hotels,” said Duke. “You have the large … conventions that come into the city. We also like to bring in large sporting events like the brier and that was a wonderful event to have in the winter when it’s really slow. The third sector would be just the leisure traveller, a person who comes on vacation.”
Duke also adds that having hotels is very important for the growth of a city.
“It’s one of the essential components of growing business in a city,” said Duke.