BOW VALLEY – A federal investment aimed at attracting more visitors to the province is boosting tourism initiatives in the Bow Valley by over $1.5 million.
The funding is supporting projects, including electric bicycle and walking food tours in Banff and Canmore, a year-round glamping experience in Kananaskis Country, and the development of destination marketing organizations’ tourism plans and strategies.
Paul Shaw, corporate communications manager with Banff and Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT), said the $600,000 the organization is receiving has helped to fund its 10-year vision for sustainable tourism, which began with a lengthy public engagement process with input from over 2,000 people.
“This funding will help support sustainable growth, create jobs and elevate Canada’s brand on the world stage, including here in Banff and Lake Louise,” Shaw said. “It’s also supporting our new trip builder on our website, and that’s very complementary to the vision itself.”
The federal government is investing the money through the $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, administered by PrairiesCan to support the tourism sector in the prairie provinces.
The trip-planning tool BLLT has built with support from the funding aims to be industry-leading, Shaw said. It is meant to enable travellers to plan a single or multi-day trip to Banff and Lake Louise “from scratch.”
“It allows you to see key information about local experiences, including general tips, hours of operations, seasonality, access, and pricing. You can also view curated trips and use those as your own or edit it as you need,” he said.
The tool also includes a sharing functionality so trip details can be easily communicated with friends and family.
“It also really supports our vision by driving people to local businesses and it supports transit, tours and active modes to get people around the area without a car,” Shaw said.
Tourism Canmore Kananaskis is receiving $313,368, which is helping to fund its sustainable tourism strategy in collaboration with businesses in Canmore and Kananaskis. A portion of the money is also being used to develop an online training program for staff, aimed at promoting local attractions and boosting visitor traffic during the shoulder and winter seasons.
To target improved winter visitation, another $500,000 is being invested into Skyridge Glamping Ltd. to launch a brand-new year-round dome glamping experience in Kananaskis.
Banff, Canmore, Calgary and Edmonton will also receive nearly $100,000 to split between them for expanding and marketing electric cycling and walking food tours in their communities.
In the funding announcement Feb. 27, the federal government said it would be investing $17.8 million in 50 projects across Alberta, which is expected to support more than 2,800 jobs in the province.
“This new funding augments robust investment that the Alberta government has already made to support the recovery, growth and long-term prosperity of our visitor economy,” said Todd Loewen, the province’s minister responsible for parks and tourism, in a press release. “Tourism generates jobs for Albertans and economic opportunity throughout the province. Support from all levels of government is instrumental in ensuring future success in this area.”
The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.