Results from a government study focused on tourism in the Alberta’s Southern Rockies tourist zone have been released.

Travel Alberta produced Discovery Report 2023 after speaking with 114 stakeholders, 63 businesses and municipal leaders in four jurisdictions. Work on the project began in 2022.

“We started this process after an extensive engagement [two years ago] and we wrapped up in the spring of 2023,” said Yvonne Chau, Calgary and Southern Rockies destination development manager.

“We just posted the report on our website earlier this month.”

The 33-page brief was also part of the Jan. 23 correspondence received by councillors for the MD of Pincher Creek, which was represented in the findings.

“There were several groups that we engaged to put together this report. The South Canadian Rockies Tourism Association, for example, was one of them,” Chau said.

“They also had a few of their members from the board on our steering committee. So about a dozen of the board members were able to provide us with some insight and help start some of the engagement work in the region.”

The South Rockies tourism development zone encompasses the Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek and Waterton Lakes areas.

To no one’s surprise, the survey shows the favourite attractions loved by locals also appeal to visitors — Castle Mountain, Frank Slide and Crowsnest Museum, just three that are mentioned.

“There’s really no shortage of things to do,” Chau added. “Part of the analysis saw research on the type of activities that Albertans were drawn to [in the region]. At the top: hiking and camping.”

International travellers, on the other hand, are more likely to visit natural attractions, historical discoveries or dark sky viewing opportunities.

The report also contains several different polling results relating to the Southern Rockies.

For example, 76 per cent of Albertans surveyed have a positive impression of our neck of the woods. Only the Northern Rockies, at 78 per cent, had more support.

Thirty-nine per cent of visitors to the area come two or more times per year.

And, asked if tourism is important to their community, 91 per cent of respondents in this region said it is, eclipsing the average 70 per cent in all other zones.

While figures from the study strongly indicate a rebound in Alberta’s tourism sector, and in the southwest, the report also comes with a strong recommendation for a better working relationship among industry partners.

“To achieve the Southern Rockies TDZ’s full potential, communities, governments, business owners and stakeholders must collaborate. While the zone has many assets capable of attracting Canadian and international visitors, these assets currently need more supporting products and amenities, particularlyaccommodations,” says the report’s Conclusion and Next Steps section.

“In turn, these stakeholders and investors will need to develop new and enhanced products and services to facilitate soft adventure and immersion in nature.”

The complete report is available online at bit.ly/4brFt0m.

By Dave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 02, 2024 at 14:35

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

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