Regional tourism heats up for summer

Regional tourism heats up for summer

· The Pulse

The City of Spruce Grove and the Town of Stony Plain are collaborating on a new online tourism initiative called On-The-Edge YEG to attract tourists by highlighting events, restaurants, and recreational activities in the region west of Edmonton.

"Through a collaborative approach, we are able to combine resources and unify tourism initiatives for a stronger, more connected region," Mayor William Choy of Stony Plain said in a Postmedia story. "We look forward to continuing work with Spruce Grove to grow local tourism and draw more visitors to our communities."

The project dovetails with the Stony Plain Tourism Master Plan and Spruce Grove's Cultural Master Plan, both of which see tourism as key to economic development.

On-The-Edge YEG is delivered in partnership with Travel Alberta, which recently received an expanded mandate and a budget increase of $63 million over three years to help support a strong rebound for the tourism sector across the province.

Government and tourism leaders will be in Edmonton on May 31 for the Alberta Tourism Advocacy Summit to discuss the industry's priorities as it seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government has also announced funding to support tourism in Alberta, including $10 million for Explore Edmonton to ensure that K-Days "remains a key part of Edmonton's cultural tapestry." The money will support turning Klondike Park into a year-round destination, generating new revenue streams, and creating inclusive programming for Indigenous, newcomer, francophone, and LGBTQ2S+ communities.

"The roots of K-Days go back 142 years to 1879, with the first Edmonton Exhibition," Explore Edmonton's Arlindo Gomes told Global News. "(We) are excited to steward this event into the future and ensure it meets the needs of our community today and for the next 142 years." This year's event takes place July 22-31.

Explore Edmonton, which took over the management of K-Days from Northlands last year, is seeking public input to revitalize the event. Edmontonians can share what they like and don't like about K-Days using a 10-question online survey, which Explore Edmonton said it will use to shape programming for the next decade.

Explore Edmonton is also hosting an engagement session on June 2 to connect with stakeholders regarding its 2021-2030 Tourism Master Plan. The plan is "aimed at providing a common vision for growth and investment with tourism industry partners" and seeks to position Edmonton as a year-round destination of choice for visitors.

Photo: Festival-goers ride the "swing of the century" at K-Days in 2018. (IQRemix/Flickr)