Nicholas L. M. Allen
May 10, 2023
"Tourism operators and SCR are trying really hard to take a regional approach because each of the communities in this particular region has different things to offer visitors.”
A tourism association encompassing the southwestern Alberta area is hosting a pre-summer meeting in Pincher Creek on May 16. The South Canadian Rockies Tourism Association (SCR) is set to host an information exchange and get together at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village (Pincher Creek Museum) from 6 to 8 p.m., with the location of the meeting alternating each year.
“We're relatively new and there are so many people who don't quite understand what we do and why we're needed,” explained Dawn Rigby, treasurer of the SCR and local tourism operator.
The meeting of tourism operators was originally sponsored in the Crowsnest Pass by Community Futures around a decade ago, explained Rigby. Since the invention of the SCR, this will be the first time they have held the meeting.
“This year it's combined because it's regional. Tourism operators and SCR are trying really hard to take a regional approach because each of the communities in this particular region has different things to offer visitors,” said Rigby.
She talked about the variety of activities each of the different communities in the southern Rockies have to offer and how they can supplement each other's accommodations. For the SCR to do this, they have become a “destination management organization” which is an evolution of the original destination marketing organization.
“We do more than just advertise the community. We set up for our members different training programs, we market the area, we have different buy-in programs for members and others to promote their own businesses,” said Rigby.
She said the SCR also works closely with Travel Alberta and the Indigenous Council of the Piikani Nation. Other ties to the association include Pincher Creek, Waterton and Castle Mountain. Rigby said this is important because this area is still “young” in terms of tourism in the area.
“It's still a very young area in comparison to the legacy areas like Banff, they've been doing this for 100 years. We're kind of new to this scenario,” added Rigby.
An example she used is how the Crowsnest Pass is short accommodations, but Pincher Creek is short activities for people to do. For the business operators, she said a two or three-night stay is better than an afternoon visit. To attract guests and keep them in the area longer they decided it is best to take a regional approach.
"Today's society is very mobile. It's easy enough to stay in the Crowsnest Pass and go to Waterton for a day trip,” said Rigby, “[We want] to try and get them to stay in this region and visit all of our accommodations and keep them here for a [few] days.”
For any businesses concerned about entering the tourism association, Rigby reinforced it is a “grassroots organization” with the push coming from within the communities. For anyone wishing to learn more or contact the association, visit southcanadianrockies.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.