Amid the rodeo, the midway and other western parties happening across the city this week, local business leaders are touting the unique opportunity the Calgary Stampede provides to attract new investment.
With the 10-day event nearing its halfway mark, there is optimism that 2023 will outpace earning records from the 2019 event.
It comes as international and national representatives from various sectors make their way to the city, attending the hundreds of corporate parties thrown at tents, bars and restaurants throughout the week.
One of those events took place high above Stephen Avenue Tuesday, hosted by Western Canadian IT firm WBM Technologies.
“A really unique thing about the Stampede is it brings people from around the world,” WBM vice-president Brett Bailey told Global News.
“Likewise, this event is drawing the top leaders from the top technology companies globally and what they’re seeing is something a little different.”
Bailey underscored the importance of bringing together customers and business partners to celebrate, but also use the week as an opportunity to network in a growing tech sector locally.
Nelia Luis with HP Canada is at her second Stampede and plans to be back for a third.
“The deals are created here,” she said at the WBM event. “It all starts with meeting people, having those conversations and building those relationships. The deals come as a result of that.”
A 2019 review from the Conference Board of Canada estimated the annual economic impact of the Calgary Stampede to be $540 million with 52 per cent of that stemming from the 10-day event.
Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek met with executives from major streamers and film production companies from L.A. on Tuesday, in an effort to attract more film production to the city as part of her whirlwind tour of events throughout the Stampede.
“The opportunity that we have right now is to say to the sector ‘you belong here,’” Gondek said. “We have purpose-built facilities for you, we have ranches that you can use to do any of the many different scenes that you need to film for whatever your production is. So I think it’s an opportunity to showcase everything in one place.”
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The hope for local business leaders as well as the city’s mayor is that by showcasing the city, it translates to more opportunities throughout the year.
“If you feel welcomed in a city and you feel there are things to do, you would consider making an investment and locating your business here and bringing your employees here,” Gondek said. “I think that’s the great opportunity we have.”
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is optimistic about the economic impact of the 2023 event, with several indicators including record attendance at the Stampede Parade and foot traffic at the grounds, as well as area hotels at near capacity throughout this week with a strong return of international travellers to the 10-day event.
Ruhee Ismail-Teja with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce said the 2023 Stampede is also an opportunity to build out critical infrastructure to support the tourism sector throughout the entire year.
She said there is still a need for hotel capacity, especially with the expansion to the BMO Centre and the 36 events already booked for after it opens in ahead of the 2024 Calgary Stampede.
“Building out whatever critical infrastructure we need to be able to get from here to where we’re going and make sure that this is not a blip on the radar but that this is really a trend that we continue to see Calgary thriving across the board,” Ismail-Teja said.
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