A new report by Destination Vancouver warns demand for hotel rooms in the Lower Mainland could outstrip supply as early as the summer of 2026, forcing up prices and putting our ability to host world-class events at risk. Paul Haysom reports – Mar 6, 2023
A new report from Destination Vancouver warns a lack of hotel capacity could cost the city billions in economic impact and thousands of ‘unrealized’ full-time jobs, with demand set to outpace supply in as little as three years.
The report estimates about 20,000 new hotel rooms are needed in Metro Vancouver by 2050, about half of which would be in the city of Vancouver.
From the Rugby 7s, Grey Cup, Laver Cup and the Invictus Games, to the FIFA World Cup in 2026 or something as simple as the Canucks and Whitecaps weekend home games, Destination Vancouver says the economic impact would be extensive.
It warns not keeping up with demand would cost the region more than $30 billion by 2050 and more than 168,000 full time jobs.
“It’s a conversation we need to have around strategy with the federal government, First Nations, the City of Vancouver, so everyone is well aware of it,” said Minister of Tourism Lana Popham.
“We’re going to be looking for solutions,” she said.
The City of Vancouver itself is down 1,500 hotel rooms since 2010. 550 were also purchased by the city and B.C. Housing to convert rooms into supporting housing.
“We’ve lost hotels as they have converted due to the high cost of real estate, into housing. We’ve lost hotels with the use of them being turned into supportive housing, with programs that came forward during the pandemic, but what we really want to see is flexible, more nimble policies that allow hotel use across the city,” said Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung.
It says significant investment is needed to recoup the losses, and existing development applications and permits submitted are currently insufficient.
Airbnb, which currently offers about 3,500 listings in the area., would like to play a bigger role.
“I’m thinking all these events coming to Vancouver, people are looking towards those as opportunities to leave town, and opportunities to make extra money by engaging in short-term rentals even for short periods of time,” said Nathan Rotman, Airbnb Regional Lead for Canada and US Northeast.
One of the biggest issues, the report points out, is space. One idea being floated is a hotel barge in Coal Harbour, that the city is open to.