The Blue Angels drew massive crowds during 2018’s air show. John Morrow/Abbotsford News

Airshow brings millions to Abbotsford, UFV study says

Out-of-town airshow spectators spend more than $4 million in the city each year

The Abbotsford International Airshow brings millions of tourist dollars to the Fraser Valley every year, according to a study conducted by University of the Fraser Valley students.

With more than 85 per cent of air show attendees coming from beyond Abbotsford’s borders, tens of thousands of non-locals spend more than $4 million in the city each year, according to the study, which was presented to council last week.

Local gas stations, restaurants, hotels and shops all reap the rewards, with more than $600,000 spent in each sector. But more could be done to boost visitors’ spending while they are in Abbotsford, according to the authors of the study, which was conducted under the guidance of professor David Dobson.

The authors suggest organizers should target more families, partner with local eateries, and advertise other Abbotsford attractions to convince visitors to do more in the region beyond just attending the air show.

Seventy per cent of air show visitors were male, and four of five were older than 35, according to the study.

“We all love the airs how and it’s great to have these numbers to back up those qualitative impressions that we all have,” Coun. Sandy Blue said. “Airports are internationally recognized as key economic drivers of cities, but it’s what we do with them that makes the difference.”

Airport board member Vali Marling told council that the air show will look at ways to help boost community spending in the future.

“Those are things we have added to our to-do list

Air show organizers also say they are adjusting their plans to try to avoid last year’s traffic jam prior to and during the Friday show.

Last year’s show drew one of the largest crowds in decades thanks to the appearance of the United States Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. But the Friday evening show saw many stuck in traffic, and the highway was severely congested not only by the air show audience, but by Metro Vancouver residents hitting the highway for the weekend.

To try to avoid that situation, airport president Jim Reith said this year’s star attraction, the US Air Force Thunderbirds, won’t be performing during the Friday twilight show.

“We have a different traffic plan,” Reith told council.

He said organizers are also hoping to encourage many people to carpool or take park-and-ride options. The widening of Mt. Lehman road is also expected to help.

RELATED: Blue Angels help drive attendance increase at Abbotsford Airshow


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

UFV wrestler Jason Bains receives four-year suspension for using banned substance

Surrey native tests positive for oral steroid Turinabol, silver national medal removed for violation

Fraser Valley foursome to hike 70km over mountains in memory of friend

Friends from Abbotsford and Langley to hike from Hope to Tulameen for Brook Morrison

PBR Canada cancels Abbotsford event

COVID-19 concerns end multi-year run for event at Abbotsford Centre

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

One injured in South Surrey shooting

Shots reported in area of 194 Street and 34 Avenue

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

PHOTO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

Most Read