Fellow Vancouverites, here’s some good news for us all — despite the global pandemic, our beautiful city has managed to go long and strong. And we have proof to back this up.
Downtown Vancouver’s Business Improvement Association released its annual State of Downtown report yesterday, and it paints a very optimistic picture of our beloved downtown with measurable improvements in almost all areas.
After a good read, here are the 5 key takeaways that once more made us fall in love (once again) with the city’s core!
#1 Our efforts to support local are paying off
While we’ve always championed the ‘support local’ movement, it gained momentum during the pandemic. And it would appear that our support has, in fact, had an impact. According to the report, retail sales in 2021 went up 14% compared to 2019 and 25% compared to 2020. This is one of the best recoveries compared to most major Canadian markets.
#2 The Hybrid working model is here to stay
Given that WFH is the new normal, the office foot traffic in DT only recovered to about 30%. Incidentally, only 11% of BC workers are expecting a full return to the office. Can’t say we’re surprised. After all, giving up sweats for formals isn’t an easy switch. Logically then, most offices have adopted the Hybrid working model indefinitely.
#3 Downtown will offer more office space in 2022
While the hybrid working model is dominating the work culture, businesses and Downtown together are making our return-to-office a lot more alluring by way of more and better office space. 2021 happened to witness the most positive annual absorption of office space since 2018. And it will only get better in 2022 as 3.3 million square feet of office space is being completed by the end of the year. Now, that’s saying something!
#4 Tourism-related businesses are on the mend slowly and steadily
It is common knowledge that the pandemic heavily impacted global tourism. But despite low passenger traffic at airports across the globe, Vancouver’s International Airport continued to be Canada’s second busiest. Hotel occupancy too increased from 29% in 2020 to 40% in 2021. Plus, with an expected 309 cruise ships in 2022, tourism-related businesses are expected to improve further.
#5 The tech industry is still one of the strongest pillars of Downtown Van
To no one’s surprise, the tech industry continues to play a major role in Downtown Van’s recovery. In fact, Vancouver is the third fastest-growing tech job market in North America. And since we are keeping score, it is also the 11th in tech talent and 4th in “brain gain.”
Guess it is safe to assume that Downtown Vancouver is set to regain its former vibrant glory sooner than we had thought. You can download the full State of Downtown report here. It has some really interesting insights!