Tourism Jasper says it needs public involvement with its incoming long-term tourism plan. | Scott Hayes / Jasper FitzhughScott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tourism Jasper is preparing to roll out its new and comprehensive regenerative long-term plan to optimize the visitor economy.

With 54 actionable elements, the Destination Stewardship Plan is designed to not only attract more visitors throughout the year, but it also has the enticement of newly motivated tourists at its heart.

The plan is looking to attract value-aligned visitors who don’t simply come during the high seasons, take their experiences and don’t contribute back to the special place that is this picturesque mountain town.

It also intends to keep the authenticity of Jasper firm and intact. All of this is why Tourism Jasper says the overall involvement of the populace is key.

“We need this plan to reside outside of these four walls,” said James Jackson president and CEO of Tourism Jasper.

“The plan is all of our plan. It’s all of our destination. The objective is to create a mutually beneficial optimized visitor economy and destination for everyone’s benefit. It’s really important that we’re not bearhugging this thing: that it lives, even though we might be the steward of it and we’re the facilitator … that the community feels empowered to get involved with it.”

Communication will be the catalyst toward getting the public’s buy-in, said Brooklyn Rushton, Tourism Jasper’s destination stewardship strategist.

“We don’t actually own a lot of the pieces of the plan,” Rushton said. “A lot would be figuring out who actually owns this. What are they doing right now? What are their timelines?”

As comprehensive as the plan is, the collaborative effort will be equally involved. That means a full spectrum of Jasper’s resident and business representation along with the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada at the table.

Even though the plan is essentially designed to project a decade into the future, Rushton said it is currently designed with no set timeline for when steps get taken simply to abide all those stakeholders, their capabilities and schedules.

“We’ve really created the implementation of this plan to be really dynamic and evolving with the community priorities,” she said. 

Along with authenticity and maximizing tourism throughout the year, the plan also has air access, accessibility, environmental responsibility, workforce development, sustainability and housing as jigsaw puzzle pieces that can and will all fit together for the big picture, Jackson said.

The public can look forward to the first stage of implementation in the first quarter of 2024. 

Until then, Jasper’s official visitor marketing organization invites everyone to read the plan on its website at www.jasper.travel.

“We need to have that collective community engagement, or else this won’t actually happen. We need to have a lot of people involved,” Rushton said, emphasizing how transparent Tourism Jasper wants the process to be.

Jackson said residents and visitors alike need to know that tourism is a powerful tool that can generate economic and social benefits, including sociocultural and environmental benefits if the tool is wielded with care and a collective concern.

“We want folks to understand that tourism can contribute significantly to the social fabric of the community,” he said.

“Second to that, and building on that, is that we want people to be involved. This isn’t Tourism Jasper’s plan. This is Jasper’s plan, our plan, and so we want people to have a voice.”

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 08, 2023 at 12:00

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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