May 28th, 2024

Tourism Lethbridge announces new CEO

By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on December 18, 2021.

Erin Crane

Having grown up near the Grand Canyon, Erin Crane knows a thing or two about tourist attractions.
In the New Year, the native of Arizona who has lived in Lethbridge since 2004 will apply that know-how to her new job.
Tourism Lethbridge recently announced Crane as its new Chief Executive Officer, a job she starts Jan. 4.
“I’m very excited for this,” said Crane. “I’ve been involved in tourism in Lethbridge for the last 15 years. The industry is going through some really hard times and the COVID pandemic caused everyone to rethink how they do things and try and offer new ways to get through it and offer visitor experiences out to the public. It’s an exciting time to be involved in tourism and it really needs all the help that we can give it and that’s what we’re here to do.”
Growing up in Tusayan, Ariz., Crane spent plenty of time in national parks.
“My mom worked at the Chamber of Commerce, so tourism was always at the top of mind for us. It was a great way to grow up and see some really fun things. I had early access to all of the tourism campaigns and getting to meet people from different countries.”
In a press release, Tourism Lethbridge Board Chair Suzanne Lint said Crane is well-known in the region.
“We are happy to gain her experience, industry knowledge and leadership to execute our Strategic Plan. Ms. Crane brings a wealth of knowledge to her role of Chief Executive Officer at Tourism Lethbridge. She has a deep understanding of tourism’s economic impact, as well as experience in hotels, visitor information centre management, sporting event promotion and arts administration.”
Crane has also worked as Manager of Conference and Event Services at the University of Lethbridge, where she facilitated many national and international events.
As well, she has served as a board member for numerous local organizations, including the Lethbridge Lodging Association, Chinook Country Tourist Association, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, Heart of the City Committee and the Lethbridge Local Immigration Partnership.
Crane joins Tourism Lethbridge after more than six years of service at Economic Development Lethbridge as Director, Investment Attraction and Director of Meeting, Event and Partnership Development.
“That’s how I started in economic development in Lethbridge,” said Crane. “I was the director of meeting, event and partnership development. That brought me into the economic development world. Over EDL we focus on five key economic industry segments. Agriculture, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, technology and innovation and renewable energy.
“The exciting thing about this role is tourism is an economic driver. So I’m looking at what I like to call the sixth economic driver, which is tourism.”
With her job title in place, Crane and the rest of Tourism Lethbridge gear up for 2022.
“The Tourism Lethbridge Board did a very good job on their recent strategic plan and within that plan they focus on four key areas of work,” said Crane. “The first being economic growth. We really need to get everybody focusing on the economy.
“The second is that marketing out to the rest of the world. Lethbridge had some hard hits lately and there are a lot of workforce challenges happening and there are a lot of people looking for opportunities and a lot of that exists here in Lethbridge, but sometimes what they hear is only the bad things. So that destination marketing piece is huge for us.”
Crane said one of the things she’s really excited about is partnership development, the third key. 
“I’m a huge advocate for the City of Lethbridge community brand, which is Brighter Together. It’s all about bringing people to the table together to follow those challenges and I think we can do that with the fantastic partners we have in the tourism community.”
“The last one is organizational excellence, which every organization should have to do.”
Crane said southern Alberta has much to offer, noting the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
“I think the river valley is so beautiful and I hang out there as much as I can. Telling those stories to the rest of the world about what we have to offer here is what I’m excited about and that I love doing.”

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