In 2019 Strathcona County approved a tourism strategy with the goal of becoming known as a tourist destination. The traditional Activity and Travel guide document was significantly overhauled to be more closely aligned with tourism industry standards while continuing to support business retention and expansion efforts. This included increasing storytelling aspects and utilizing photos of the community and business to be an accurate representation of the community. Lastly, a spotlight page – “Made right here,” allows visitors to see where they can purchase locally made things to enjoy while supporting Strathcona’s business economy.
Purpose of the project (include anticipated outcomes)
The focus placed on tourism within Strathcona County has resulted in a need for the creation of tourism publications to entice visitors and inform them of the offerings within the municipality. Specifically for visitors to the community, the awareness of Strathcona County offerings is critical. The Adventure Guide also fills another purpose: educating residents on the potential for tourism. Showing all the available offerings here and showing how attractive the municipality is for people to visit, is helping residents see Strathcona County as a tourist destination. Educating residents on these potentials will also help to develop our residents to be used as ambassadors for the region.
Effectiveness and Objectives
This document has been marketed throughout the province and region. This has allowed Strathcona County to become more recognizable in the tourism industry and is helping to change the perception that it isn’t a tourist destination. We have received more inquiries from people requesting tourism information. We have been able to point visitors towards enjoying more authentic experiences by going to small businesses rather than franchises. We had even received feedback from community members who enjoyed utilizing it when they had friends or family visiting.
The ten-year vision of the tourism strategy is that Strathcona County will be known as a place where visitors can come to enjoy compelling offerings, activities, and experiences. Due to the Adventure Guide moving away from a business directory and firmly being utilized as a tourism document, Strathcona County is already seeing this take place. This guide has been an excellent tool for the region to use, and quantitatively, more requests for the guide have also been taking place compared to previous years.
Due to this publication changing from its traditional format of a business directory, new additions were included. A short timeline due to the tourism role being filled in mid-February meant a shorter creation timeline. This was exacerbated due to spotlight features involving tourism partners. Some partners that were approached were unable to participate due to the short timeline. Other challenges were issues with supply chains and COVID-19, resulting in delays in the production and distribution of the guide.
These issues will be remediated as production will take place much earlier in the year in 2023.