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New hotel brings more opportunities for big events

Tourism manager for the City of Thunder Bay, Paul Pepe, said the city needs more hotels

THUNDER BAY — A new hotel has opened its doors in the city. 

Located at the corner of Arthur St. W. and Hwy 11/17, Home2Suites by Hilton is the newest accommodation location available to support the city's growing tourism. 

Tourism manager for the City of Thunder Bay, Paul Pepe, said the city needs more hotels. 

"Thunder Bay has been running some of Canada's highest occupancy rates for a number of years," Pepe said.

While the summer months are often fully booked, Pepe said the off-season can also be just as busy.

"In the off-season, in September, when the Central Canada Resource Expo is in town, the city was sold out for that," he said. 

Because of the diversity of Thunder Bay's tourism economy, the fact that there are visitors coming here for leisure, sports, and business shows that the city truly is a regional hub, Pepe said, including from Indigenous communities.

Pepe said there's still room for more hotels in the city.

"What we have found over the last decade is there's always, always room for more," he said, adding that hotel developers are also doing their homework on prospective markets. 

"They see the opportunities, they see, you know, the growth opportunities, and that shows a tremendous confidence in the city's overall economy," he said. 

Since the city is already a regional hub for tourism, business and healthcare, having extra accommodation space will allow the city to bid on more large-scale events. 

"It helps us go out and bid on more sports events and on more convention events to increase our leisure marketing capacity as well," he said.

Pepe said the city was sold out last July and August, which created a challenge from a marketing perspective. 

He noted the tourism department has shifted its strategy to try and build capacity during the winter and summer months as well. 

"We're really grateful to see new investments being made in the accommodations sector and the confidence that these hotel developers are showing in the city. It gives us more options when we are out selling the city for conventions and sports and leisure travel markets."

— TBnewswatch