After almost a year of communications, initiated by Mayor and Council commissioning a Request for Proposals regarding the use of the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (Tradex), Tourism Abbotsford is happy to hear that the facility will remain event-based, and looks forward to working with the new operators, Harbour Event and Convention Centre (HECC), as of early July.
“Our tourism and hospitality industry has been living with uncertainty since the review of Tradex was announced last March. Since this time, hundreds of local business owners and organizations, event professionals, industry colleagues, and residents have expressed concerns about the possibility of losing Tradex. It is evident people see Tradex as an important community and regional asset,” says Craig Nichols, Executive Director of Tourism Abbotsford.
Tourism Abbotsford advocated to keep Tradex as an event venue by responding with an appeal for stakeholder support. Communications spoke to Tradex being a valuable revenue-generating asset that injected millions of dollars into Abbotsford and the Lower Mainland. In a typical year, the direct economic impact from all Tradex related activities is estimated at $19 million.
“After almost two years of navigating challenges presented by the pandemic, coupled with the Sumas Prairie flooding, which severely affected our farms and local businesses, we needed this good news and are grateful that Abbotsford’s positioning as a strong event destination will continue into the future. Although Tourism Abbotsford was a proponent in the Request for Proposals process, the bigger goal was always to keep Tradex as a multi-purpose event space,” says Nichols.
“It’s been our privilege to operate Tradex for the past 18 years. We thank the Tradex team for their ongoing commitment and professionalism, and for remaining steadfast during challenging times. On behalf of our industry partners, we applaud this announcement and the long-term commitment to tourism demonstrated by the City of Abbotsford’s decision. Without any hesitation, the Board of the Tourism Abbotsford Society and staff are optimistic that this year will bring forward united, integrated, and collective community efforts for Abbotsford to recover and rebuild. We look forward to working with the new facility managers to help grow events in our region in the years ahead,” says Daniel Laverick, Board President of the Tourism Abbotsford Society.