Photo of Rosanna Caira
Photo by Nick Wong

After almost two years of living through the pandemic, with all of our lives stalled to some degree, it seems we’re now getting ready to re-start the engine.

With the successful rollout of vaccine programs in many parts of the country, and vaccination passports now gaining momentum, in recent weeks we’ve seen a gradual return to events, conferences and sporting events. Late last month, as an example, Ontario slowly starting easing the restrictions in indoor settings, where proof of vaccination is required, following the lead of other provinces. In Toronto, both the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs welcomed the return of spectators in the stands. Similarly, in Montreal, Canadiens fans also returned to cheer on the Habs and Canuck fans did the same in Vancouver. South of the border, live sporting events and concerts have been taking place for months now.

Closer to home, Hotelier and our partner on this initiative, Marriott Hotels, got a small taste of that newfound freedom when we recently hosted our annual Investment Roundtable, earlier this fall at the Delta Toronto, albeit with strict protocols in place. After being forced to cancel last year’s edition, which was set to take place just as the pandemic arrived, we were finally able to assemble a group of eight hoteliers and analysts to speak on the state of the industry and the eventual return to business (see story on p.10).
The Roundtable participants touched on several key topics, including the state of construction and development, brand expansion and the growing importance of vaccination passports. Through it all, they stressed the transformed world we are about to return to and the evolving consumer expectations and demands we will encounter.

Certainly, cautious optimism remains the order of the day as the Delta variant and a fourth wave continues to surge in some regions — most notably in Alberta where the hospital system is at risk. Whether we will feel comfortable without masks anytime soon remains to be seen, but as we slowly move back into the real world, invariably we will continue to be mindful of safety protocols, intensified cleaning standards and a new concern with the inter-connectedness of the world and our effect on one another.

On a side note, Hotelier is happy to once again publish our annual Who Owns What? (WOW) poster, which unfortunately we were forced to cancel last year during the turbulence of the pandemic. While some hotel chains were unable to provide updated numbers for this year’s edition, given the ebb and flow of what’s been happening over the past year, our staff did its best to ensure we had as much industry representation as possible. We hope you enjoy this issue and we look forward to better days ahead.


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