I had the great privilege of attending the Travel Alberta Industry Conference last weekend, and came back to work inspired and excited to put many of the ideas from the conference and discussions into action. Connect and Collaborate was the aptly named theme for this year's event, as there were many great discussions, networking opportunities and awareness that came out of the conference.
One session in particular struck a chord with me as our Sturgeon County Economic Development team works on our tourism and business support plans for 2014. This session was presented by Alberta Tourism and Parks and Recreation outlining a significant study that was done, defining the "Potential Demand for Rural Vacation Experiences in Alberta by Residents of Alberta." Although the study is 180 pages, there are several key points that I pulled out of it such as:
This got me thinking... if potential visitors from Edmonton or other urban areas in Alberta don't know what we have to offer or what they can expect, will they come visit, shop and experience our events? How many "hidden gems" exist in Sturgeon County that we should be telling people about? More than 70% of people prefer and trust a recommendation from a friend or social media over traditional advertising... What Sturgeon County experiences would you like to recommend to your friends? Maybe there is an amazing restaurant, a fantastic annual event, an interesting historical site, the list is endless.
The study also showed that people from urban areas had a lot of interest in exploring rural activities and destinations, but there were a number of factors that steered them away from going rural. Some of those factors were:
This website, www.sturgeoncountybounty.ca is in the early stages of becoming a hub for information. This is the spot that is featuring upcoming events, local producers and attractions, but it is only the start. There will be two Sturgeon County Bounty events next year - one in the spring and one in the fall, and we are looking for vendors to help get the word out about why local and fresh is better. We are also building a database of all the businesses and attractions in Sturgeon County to make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for. We are looking for local businesses to feature on our blog and share insight... we want to connect with you!
Please leave your comments below and share your Hidden Gems in Sturgeon County!
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This is an exciting time, as we are ready to launch our new website, and also get the fifth Annual Sturgeon County Bounty underway at Prairie Gardens & Adventure farm in Bon Accord on Saturday, September 28, 2013!
It has been a lot of hard work and planning for the Bounty Taste Event, but it is very rewarding to meet so many producers and business owners in the Sturgeon County area and see all of the support that exists for our local initiatives. We have many things planned for the next year, and are hoping to talk with as many local producers, processors, chefs, farms and artisans as possible to find the best fit for growing local tourism and culinary experiences.
Please join us between 11am - 3pm on Saturday at Prairie Gardens to experience delicious dishes prepared by our local producers and restaurants. You will be served fresh food cooked to perfection, and you should come hungry because we have A LOT of tasty options to offer! Food tickets will be for sale ($1 each) and most vendor booths are serving dishes that are between 3-5 tickets. You will also be able to get a fantastic fall family photo taken for 5 tickets!
Saturday, September 28 is also the opening day for Prairie Gardens' Haunted Pumpkin Festival, featuring TONS of great family activities such as a petting zoo, corn maze, face painting, music and entertainment, wagon rides, and of course... the Pumpkin Cannon!
It should be a beautiful fall day, we look forward to seeing you there!
For more information on The Sturgeon County Bounty including maps and menus, click here
Sturgeon County Bounty is a Sturgeon County Economic Development initiative, aimed at providing local producers, chefs and processors with an opportunity to promote and expand value-added agriculture in the region. more
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9613 - 100 Street
Morinville, AB, T8R 1L9