Single Publication – 4 or more pages | Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development
- Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development Alliance (AlbertaSW REDA) is a partnership of 16 rural communities, working together to promote the region and create a context for success and sustainability of the region. Situated “where the prairies meet the Rocky Mountains” tourism and recreation are an important economic sector.
- Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an anchor attraction for the region. When the federal government invited free entry to National Parks for the 2017 sesquicentennial, Waterton worried about how to contend with potential over-visitation; the partner communities helped Parks Canada solve a problem and created new opportunities.
- Demonstrating a strong collaborative approach, all the communities in AlbertaSW mobilized to compile a region-wide Directory of Events and Activities, listing experiences that would be similar to, or complement, what people expected to do in the Park.
- 2017 was a successful season! Then, the summer ended with the devastating Kenow wildfire.
- So, the AlbertaSW communities created a new 2018 version of the Directory to promote events and activities in the region, offering alternatives to the National Park back country experiences and trails that are closed while fire damage is being repaired.
- The Directory project further strengthened the relationships and partnerships among economic development professionals, municipal staff and organizations in all the communities.
The goal of the project is to highlight and leverage the visitation to Waterton National Park, to raise awareness of the rich history, culture and attractions and recreational activities both in and around the Park by providing an exciting Directory of information.
Effectiveness in Meeting Objectives
Partnering created a win for the Park, the communities, residents and visitors. The project generated many benefits:
- Equipped Parks staff with a tool to helpfully direct visitors to other activities and events in the region, which not only created positive public relations but helped keep people in the region longer;
- Encouraged visitors and residents to visit attractions in the region while travelling to and from the Park;
- Strengthened relationships and sense of pride among the communities, businesses and organizations who all worked together to tackle an issue and created a win-win solution and positive outcomes for residents and visitors;
- Generated valuable content that can be repurposed for other applications (print, web and social media);
- Created a signature publication for the region:
- the tabloid newsprint format made it affordable to print over 50,000 copies;
- colorful photos and categorized information made the publication an ongoing summer reference;
- websites and contact information enabled visitors and residents to find more detailed information;
- the full document is available digitally at www.myalbertasouthwest.com and accessible on mobile devices.
Challenges and Changes
- What made this project challenging was collecting, coordinating and categorizing so much information; an abundance of events, experiences and attractions made it challenge to choose representative experiences from across the whole region.
- An added challenge was managing the details of visual design, knowing we couldn’t include everything in only 12 pages.
- Change and revision were constant throughout. The final product is a tribute to the patience, persistence and effective communication between Parks Canada, 16 partner communities, the graphic designer and print production.
- This consumer marketing piece is designed to highlight the variety of locally known attractions and activities in the region.
- The target audience is the independent traveller, couples or small groups that fit the Explorer Quotient (EQ) profiles of Cultural Explorer and Free Spirit; 80% Alberta market, 10% British Columbia and 10% Montana.
- Providing an on-line format, in addition to print, serves the needs of a younger demographic and the tech-reliant traveller.
- The Directory has proven to be affordable and effective, offering good information and increasing regional awareness.
- Inviting visitors to websites for more detailed information effectively adds complementary value to the print publication.
- The 2018 project built upon the 2017 experience; communities have gained a sense of momentum and accomplishment. Extensive information is compiled and filed; with ongoing community updates we can continue to duplicate the process.
- The publication is visually striking, but the real beauty of it is the heart and soul and collaborative effort that went into it.
- Shared success strengthens partner participation; partner participation builds a foundation for more future success!