FUTURE OF THE FRASER VALLEY TRADE AND EXHIBITION CENTRE (TRADEX) UNCERTAIN
The Importance of Tradex Events for Abbotsford
April 8, 2021
On March 25, 2021, the City of Abbotsford announced a Request for Proposals for alternate uses of the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (Tradex) facility. This announcement surprised many and is causing concern as the facility could end up being used for a purpose other than as an event venue.
Since taking over the operation of Tradex in 2003, Tourism Abbotsford has operated the facility with the mandate of generating economic impact for local businesses. The latest economic impact study detailed how Tradex is a significant revenue-generating asset, particularly in the fall and winter months. The 2017 study revealed that the total amount spent within Abbotsford, derived specifically from Tradex events, was $14.8 million dollars. The direct impacts contributed almost $7 million in GDP and $5.2 million in wages while generating 366 jobs and approximately $2.5 million in taxes. In total, the economic impact from Tradex events on the BC economy after factoring in indirect and induced spending was $19.2 million dollars.
Abbotsford’s tourism and hospitality businesses have been severely impacted the past 12 months, due to covid-19, and the shuttering of the events industry. This is particularly true for hotels, restaurants, and retail businesses. Losing Tradex as an event venue could handcuff many of these businesses further and devastate the long-term recovery of the local tourism and hospitality sector.
Abbotsford is not a traditional leisure travel market, it does not have beaches, lakes, or resorts, but what it does have are well-attended, revenue-generating, large-scale events. As the covid-19 situation improves, restrictions are lifted, and business recovery in the tourism and hospitality sector commences, Tradex will have an important role to play in drawing economic activity back to Abbotsford.
Without Tradex, 24 current events (trade and consumer shows) would be forced to relocate pushing millions of dollars per year into neighbouring cities and would remove one of Abbotsford’s key strengths as an event destination.
The Board of the Tourism Abbotsford Society strongly believe that Tradex should remain a large-scale event venue as events will be critical to rebuilding Abbotsford’s visitor economy post-pandemic. The Tourism Board and staff are confident the community and local hospitality industry will stand behind this need, communicating loudly to the City of Abbotsford that Tradex is a valuable revenue-generating asset.