Tourism Lethbridge is focused on promoting the city as a destination and a jumping off point to experience Alberta’s UNESCO World Heritage sights, according to CEO Erin Crane. She presented an update to the city’s Economic Standing Policy Committee to share the organization’s initiatives and plans.
“Alberta has six UNESCO World Heritage sights and four of them are within a day’s trip of Lehtbridge so we are really pushing that UNESCO World Heritage hub,” she said. “You can stay here, dine here, shop here [and] come to our attractions, but then also use this as a hub to go out and see other places.”
Two points of focus from the presentation were promoting food tourism in the region and doing workshops with local businesses.
“It’s not enough to just say, ‘yeah we are open to visitors’ — there is some work that we have to do with them,” Crane said. “They have to activate visitors when they come, have things that they can experience and they can do and this is a lot of the work that we are doing through those workshops, is teaching businesses how to engage travelers to capture more of their money.”
She said Tourism Lethbridge is focused on using the city’s trade centre and agrifood hub to attract visitors from other provinces and the United States.
“What we found out during the pandemic is that Albertans are really good about traveling around Alberta. Over 83 per cent of them stayed within the province and traveled around and that expenditure was $4.8 billion and the average spend was $207,” she said. She added it is important to focus on “high-value travelers” who will bring money into the community.
“Let’s really focus in on what they are spending and making sure that they are spending that money here in our community and you will see the impacts of that,” Crane said. “If we are bringing people in, it’s not just enough to get them here — we have to show them what there is to do and how to spend their money around our community.”