Local Tourism operators were able to hear about the state of the industry and Travel Alberta’s marketing plan Thursday morning, November 25.
“We give a little bit of a market update about what is happening in the province with tourism. We talk about Travel Alberta’s strategy moving into the next year, we talk about what markets we are going to focus on, what some of our campaigns might look like,” said Shelley Grollmuss, executive director, marketing, Canada, for Travel Alberta.
The focus of the meetings is on rural tourism. She said rural tourism relies on the local market.
“Certainly for rural Alberta, the in-province market and the regional market; Saskatchewan and British Columbia are very important markets to a lot of the markets here,” said Grollmuss. “Tourism is a $5.7 billion dollar industry, $3 billion of that tourism revenue comes from Albertans traveling within the province.”
This is also a chance for operators to learn more about what resources Travel Alberta can offer to help with promotion
“They (operators) like to know what our campaign strategies are for the year and how they can get involved and leverage what we are doing and participate in some of the programs,” she said.
This year Travel Alberta is going through a branding journey.
“We want to develop a tourism brand for the province, which we haven’t had,” she said. “We’ve gone across the province talking with the industry, asking ‘what does Alberta mean to you? How is Alberta different from other destinations both in Canada and internationally? How is Alberta unique?’” she said. “We want to focus on what we are calling ‘goosebump moments.’ What are those types of activities out there, whether it’s going to a festival or visiting an attraction, or even a breathtaking landscape, that truly gives you goosebumps.”
She said the tourism industry is still feeling the effect of the economic slowdown, particularly in the US.
“The US is still coming out of the recession, so that market has been down a bit, and other international markets have been down a bit, but Alberta is holding its own in comparison to the other provinces across Canada,” she said. “We are certainly seeing that whole trend of stay-cations continuing in the province…we’re hearing that a lot of campgrounds and attractions are very busy this year.”
The industry is optimistic going forward.
“I think we are going to start to see some recovery in some out of those markets going ahead in 2011. We are predicting good things, it is probably going to be gradual, but we are looking to continue strong investment into Alberta, Canada, domestically. We are going to really focus in on Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC and Ontario for the coming year as well as continuing to go after the US which is our largest international market.”