The Government of Alberta announced April 4 that Travel Alberta will be receiving $10 million over two years to develop tourism awareness and visitation around the province.
These developments will be targeted towards environmentally sustainable, year-round experiences outside of Alberta’s already popular destinations.
Natasha Fyfe, who spoke on behalf of the Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce (SWCC) said the extra influx of funding will be a great opportunity to boost local interest.
“Typically, Calgary or Edmonton have the big, great events, but it is really awesome that we are seeing a lot more people come out this way to attend some of our events,” she said. “Our powwow (for example) brought in people from all across the province and actually from B.C. and Winnipeg as well … I believe having access to more funding like this will give us more of an opportunity to do events like our powwow to bring more people into our little community.”
The investment from the province will consist of two programs, being a corporate investment fund, and a product development fund.
She added part of the charm of tourism in a smalltown environment is the ability to host events that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to set up within a big city.
“Even just having the same event as a big city out here in a rural community gives it more of that small town community feeling where you are a part of something and you are not just attending an event.”
Fyfe explained with the imminent influx of large-scale development within Wheatland County, the local economy is likely to surge.
Between additional workers in the area, as well as more people visiting the local attractions, additional homes and rental locations are also going to become a necessity.
“I believe this money encompasses everything that Strathmore is growing to be with the new companies like De Havilland and CGC coming into our communities,” said Fyfe. “We are going to have more people living here, and more people means more tourism, which means higher economy, which means better jobs and more jobs for our locals.”
She added part of the funding allocated by the province is targeted towards advertising and marketing of rural events, such as the Strathmore Stampede.
According to the province, in 2022-23, Travel Alberta funded 166 projects across 73 communities. Approximately 75 per cent of the projects, utilizing 70 per cent of Travel Alberta’s funding were in smaller urban and rural areas of the province.
Fyfe explained the SWCC will be discussing their plans regarding local tourism opportunities and events following their annual general meeting, at which new leadership of the organization will be stepping in.
More information regarding the funding and what initiatives will qualify is available through the Province of Alberta and Travel Alberta websites.
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Apr 20, 2023
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