By Jensen, Randy on July 22, 2020.
Travel Alberta has awarded one of its Co-operative Investment Grants to the Lethbridge Lodging Association. The grants are to assist tourism operators and regions across Alberta to restart consumer marketing activities and aid in the development of traveller products, experiences and packaging in a COVID-19 travel environment.
The Alberta government says they are developing a new vision for a strong tourism industry that should create jobs.
“We’re going to be developing a 10-year tourism strategy and are creating the right conditions for Alberta’s tourism business to thrive,” says Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. “We have the lowest taxes on job creators in Canada and are cutting red tape across the economy. We’re excited about the potential for growth in tourism across Alberta.”
With COVID-19 coming into Canada at the beginning of the higher tourism season, many businesses from hotels, restaurants and tourism destinations have been left empty. The Lethbridge Lodging Association says the area benefits a lot from tourism, and the grants came at the right time.
“The hotel industry as well as the restaurant industry have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an industry that contributes greatly to the local community, this grant could not come at a better time,” says Sacha Johnson, president of the Lethbridge Lodging Association. “The spinoff impact of tourism in Lethbridge is bigger than most people realize. Hotel guests in the Lethbridge market spent almost $35 million at local restaurants in the past year, in addition to what has been spent at the attractions, in local stores through activities and in other venues by our many visitors.”
The accommodations industry is a large driver of a local economy and is facing longer-term challenges than typical local retailers during COVID-19. Johnson says the grant will help boost the travel economy locally.
“Travel is one of the last things to recover after an economic downturn and it has a huge impact in the local economy,” says Johnson. “This grant will help us market all Lethbridge has to offer and help jump start the vacation market.”
The grant, along with marketing funds from the association will be used to market VisitLethbridge.com’s 10-week Free to Explore campaign throughout Alberta and position Lethbridge as a hub for tourist attractions, locally and in the region. Five restaurants, seven local and regional tourist attractions and eight hotels in Lethbridge are encouraging visitors to be Free to Explore.
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