May 28th, 2024

Tour helps tourism workers share what city has to offer

By Lethbridge Herald on May 15, 2024.

Tourism Lethbridge’s Visitor Information Provider Tour attendees take in the scenery during their first tour stop on Wednesday at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD –

Tourism Lethbridge hosted a VIP (Visitor Information Provider) Tour for front line tourism workers on Wednesday to experience local attractions first-hand, to be able to provide information and feedback when asked by visitors what they can do around the city. 

The attractions included Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Casa, The Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Galt Museum and Archives and the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. 

 Dominika Wojcik, senior director of communications at Tourism Lethbridge, said during the tour their aim was to teach front line workers a little bit about creating a better visitor experience. 

“We all know that as a visitor we want the locals’ input of where the hot spots to eat are and what’s there to do, so we’re trying to inform the community and showcase some of our best of Lethbridge items so they can create that experience for our visitors,” said Wojcik. 

She said the VIP tour is an initiative they are working on to create an ongoing piece, but right now this is a one-time effort. 

“We’re going to see how it goes. We’re going to do some reporting at the end, get some feedback from everybody that’s been on here. But as of right now it is just something that we are doing yesterday and today,” said Wojcik. 

She said they hope to be able to offer this type of tour more often in the future and they are also working on a virtual version of the tour. 

“If a hotel or a restaurant hires a new worker, we can send off a video that has some of these pieces in it that they can show to their new staff and highlight some of these pieces so that we’re not always having to take everyone’s day to do these types of things,” said Wojcik. 

She said Tourism Lethbridge knows that Lethbridge has a lot to offer, but when choosing what locations to highlight the organization decided to first showcase the biggest attractions here. 

“I do hope that in the future we can expand the tour and showcase some other pieces of the city as well,” said Wojcik. 

She said they chose Casa and the Helen Schuler Nature Centre because visitors can enjoy both of them free of charge and experience two different type of settings that have so much to offer. The Helen Schuler Nature Centre was also selected because of its location. 

“We know that the coulees are a huge attraction for our city, so that is one reason why we are heading down to the river valley. It’s easy to see everything in one when you’re there,” said Wojcik. 

She made reference to the fact that people can see the high-level bridge, while enjoying nature and the diversity of animals that call the river valley home. 

When speaking about the importance of tourism in Lethbridge and therefore the importance of being able to point visitors in the direction of multiple attractions, Wojcik highlighted the economic impact that results from doing just that. 

“We know that our visitor experience directly leads to economic impact because we know that the more visitors we have and the better experiences they have, they’re going to want to extend their stays, come again, tell their friends and family,” said Wojcik. 

She said ultimately their main goal is to create a better visitor experience that leads to more economic impact for our city.

Peyton Grindle, a downtown Lethbridge BRZ ambassador for the summer, spoke to media about her experience taking part in the VIP tour. 

“For us as ambassadors we get a lot of tourists coming through, we host a lot of events, so being able to learn a little bit about each of our attractions in Lethbridge is really important for us,” said Grindle. 

She said that being able to experience the attractions first-hand was very valuable to the type of feedback and recommendation those in the front line can provide to visitors. 

“You’re able to tell people exactly what it’s like, what you feel all of the important aspects are, even just what it looks like,” said Grindle.

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