If you build it, will they come? Representatives in 10 Alberta rural communities and regions think so, and last week they were doing their best to woo investors to help make their dreams a reality.
The Tourism Investment Forum, held November 5 at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre, showcased 21 tourism development opportunities across rural Alberta. Presentations ranged from a downhill ski facility in Buffalo Head Hills, golf courses in Vulcan County, a resort development in Yellowhead County, and multiple RV campgrounds across the province. You can read about all the opportunities in more detail in the forum booklet.
Alexandra Ross, Economic Development Specialist with the Town of Okotoks was there to promote a hotel and conference centre opportunity. They are banking on Okotoks’ proximity to Calgary to meet a much needed demand for hotel and conference facilities.
“The day was great, I talked to everyone I needed to talk to about our projects featured and additional opportunities available in Okotoks,” said Ross.
While Alberta is continuing to grow in popularity among visitors, getting capital for a major tourism development project is not a slam dunk. It takes time to connect the opportunity with the right people and resources to make it a reality—something the forum intended to do.
In addition to communities, Alberta Culture and Tourism reached out to financiers to attend the forum, including the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation.
Also in attendance was Innovation and Advanced Educations’ Small Business Resources program, which can help tourism’s many small businesses get established, be sustainable, and even grow.
Attracting investment in the development of compelling, must-experience destinations is a priority in Alberta’s Tourism Framework. The Framework also identifies the value tourism plays to strengthen local economies in rural Alberta.
With the variety of tourism development opportunities presented at the forum, it’s clear that there’s a lot of potential for Alberta rural communities to become must-experience destinations for travellers. And who knows? Maybe someday Alberta and Canada will be known world-wide for the broad range of experience in addition to Mounties, moose, and mountains…