April 19th, 2024

Tourism focus of SACPA session


By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 30, 2024.

Herald photo by Steffanie Costigan Tourism Lethbridge CEO Erin Crane speaks at this past week's session of SACPA.

Tourism Lethbridge chief executive officer Erin Crane spoke to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs Thursday about how important tourism is in Lethbridge and the impact tourism revenue has on creating thousands of jobs.

The session ran at noon at the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization.

“Looking at our tourism, business growth, and our tourism workforce growth, we’ve seen a big jump in the last year for tourism, business development, which is great,” said Crane.

“But we are seeing a decline in that tourism workforce. And this is something that you’re probably hearing a lot everywhere. And it’s something that we will need to address in the near future.”

Crane said in 2023 Tourism Lethbridge had just about a $1.5 billion budget from taxpayers and Tourism Lethbridge matched each dollar.

“We went out and we matched that so that we could do more for this community. And that is our goal. We want to not only market, but we want to build business. We want to encourage visitation. And we want to educate everyone about what makes this community so special,” she said.

“Economic growth, brand development, stakeholder engagement, and organizational sustainability – the Tourism Lethbridge team took those and we took the strategic pillars, and we turned them into action items.

“And those action items are be a good host, tell a good story, be a good ally, and do good work. And that’s what we want to do,” said Crane.

She said Tourism Lethbridge has partnered up with Destination International, Lethbridge Sport Council and with local businesses.

“We also work really closely with the Lethbridge Sport Council to promote sport tourism.

“And we are promoting business event tourism. And the great thing about those is that unlike just a traveller who’s coming to visit family and friends, those people who are coming for sports or business events, they spend more money while they’re here.”

“Destination Canada is our national marketing organization. And they go out into the rest of the world. And they talk about Canada into new markets in order to bring people in,” said Crane.

Crane noted Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump west of Fort Macleod has approximately 200 tour buses coming within the year and she hopes those tour buses to visit Lethbridge afterwards.

“We want to make sure that we are capturing that here in southern Alberta. We want them to come down and still go to Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump. But then we want them to come over to Lethbridge.

“We want them to go up to the Crowsnest Pass. We want them to head down to Writing on Stone in Provincial Park, we want to move them around the region to benefit everyone in our region.”

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