September 20th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 38
Travel Alberta meet and greet in Pass
Community participates in groups meeting with CEO of organization
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald Staff photo
From left to right, Travel Alberta’s CEO Royce Chwin, Travel Alberta’s VP, Industry Development Shelley Grollmuss and acting municipal CAO Patrick Thomas at the meet and greet at Community Futures on September 12.
Pass Herald Reporter
Community institutions, local organizations and members of the municipality gathered at the Community Futures office for a meet-and-greet with Travel Alberta’s CEO, Royce Chwin. Participants engaged in a constructive discussion on the state of tourism and travel in the region.
“We were there to discuss the necessity of collaboratively working together to strengthen the potential for increased tourism in Crowsnest Pass,” says CNP Mayor Blair Painter.

According to Chwin, Travel Alberta has a goal to increase tourism revenues in the province to $10 billion by 2020. An integral part to succeed is connecting with municipalities and discussing how Travel Alberta can support, advocate for and market what they have to offer.

“Any time we have a chance to participate in industry-focused discussions with the people who truly know the value of tourism in the community, we appreciate being at the table,” said Chwin in an email. “At the end of the day, we want to further enable the efforts already underway to grow tourism in the region – a strong tourism industry is an integral contributor to the local and provincial economy.”

Following the meeting, Chwin says that he sees a lot of potential to grow tourism in Crowsnest Pass.
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“The Municipality, Community Futures, Chamber of Commerce and tourism providers are all focused on finding the most effective way forward and we fully support their efforts. An excellent plan has been created to deliver on this potential. Now it’s about next steps. Who does what and how can Travel Alberta support those efforts,” he said.

Oliver Strickland, vice-chair of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) with the municipality, attended the meeting to gain perspective on Travel Alberta’s thoughts on the EDC’s three-year marketing plan that was created by National Public Relations. On September 1, the EDC applied to Travel Alberta’s Cooperative Marketing Investment Program for a grant for implementing Year 1 of the municipal marketing strategy for Crowsnest Pass.

Strickland says it was encouraging when Chwin expressed that the municipality is “light-years ahead” of other municipalities with their marketing plan, adding that every municipality should follow their example in creating marketing plans.
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“The Crowsnest Pass has all the key ingredients for a remarkable visitor experience: stories of mavericks, miners, artisans and ghosts, all set to the backdrop of some of the most stunning scenery in Alberta,” said Chwin. “Now is the time to start telling the world why a trip south is a must-do on the list of Alberta itineraries.”

At the meeting, local real estate agent, EDC member and United Riders of Crowsnest (UROC) board member John Redekopp raised the question of how the municipality can steer away from being perceived as a coal mining community with the Grassy Mountain Coal Project being planned. Chwin’s response was that the two are not mutually exclusive.

“One of the reasons people visit Alberta, and why Albertans like to explore their own province is that it is an incredibly authentic place,” he said. “Regions are defined by their industry, no different than areas focused on energy or agriculture. They co-exist and without them, there would be nothing to build the tourism industry around. Mining is part of the fabric of the area, indelibly linked through Bellevue, Frank and Hillcrest. The history is part of the draw to the area – once here, they experience the wealth of culture, cuisine and personality that make up the essence of a strong tourism region. Celebrate the fact that the two can co-exist and add to the experience.”

Mayor Painter called it “reassuring” to hear that tourism and industry can work hand in hand, providing the example of Fort McMurray, which is noted to be an oil town and yet they still bring in hordes of tourists to view the northern lights.

“We learned that our community is staged for increased tourism growth despite the potential of a new industry being developed in our area. Travel Alberta felt that that would have no effect on increased tourism in Crowsnest Pass,” says Mayor Painter.
September 20th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 38
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