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!
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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