Summer in the valley has for decades been a mecca for visitors coming to enjoy the vistas and the historic and prehistoric assets it has to offer.
2023 has not been the exception, in fact, the tourism industry in the valley is going strong.
Debbie Schinnour, Tourism Service manager for the Drumheller District Chamber of Commerce tells the Mail, the World’s Largest Dinosaur and the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) are seeing a big uptake in visitors wanting to get all they can out of the valley.
“I can tell you we are very, very busy,” Schinnour tells the Mail. She adds they are working on implementing a virtual experience at the VIC to help better serve some visitors, and they are working on getting it up and running.
“It is good to see people coming back in and asking because for three years our numbers were down, but it is great to see them back in and wanting maps and pamphlets again,” she said.
One gauge of the tourism season in the valley is the Royal Tyrrell Museum. After a record-breaking year last season, they are back on track for another great year.
“The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s visitor numbers so far this year are on par with the high attendance we saw in 2022. We are pleased to report that bookings for our summer programs have also been going extremely well,” said executive director Lisa Making. “This year we launched the new ‘Badlands Adult Hike,’ which has been well received. We look forward to even more Drumheller residents and visitors discovering the fossils, plants, animals, and history of the amazing badlands that surround us.”
Travel Drumheller is working on tracking numbers by surveying operators and the service industry, and many accounts are that it is another busy season in the valley. Travel Drumheller executive director Julia Fielding says hotel and campgrounds stays are strong.
She says experiences are definitely up with institutions like the Atlas Coal Mine and the Tyrrell reporting strong visitorship.
She does note operators in the service industry are reporting a mixed bag, with some restaurants and cafes reporting a slight drop, while others having a bumper year. This could be because of greater offerings, with more options for food and shopping in the valley. This shows growth in the capacity of the valley in its ability to host visitors.
“The level and the quality… it is getting more competitive,” said Fielding. “Our biggest thing is let's get that season longer, and I know people are exhausted, but we need to extend the season.”