Running February 22 – 24 in Camrose, the theme of the 2016 Growing Rural Tourism Conference is Bank On It.
Through workshops, presentations, networking opportunities and a trade show, the conference provides education and inspiration to rural tourism operators, municipalities and industry representatives about tourism opportunities and challenges.
“Tourism is an important industry in our province—and a key factor in diversifying Alberta’s economy. The Growing Rural Tourism Conference develops and supports tourism experiences that are off the beaten path, bringing economic benefits to rural communities. Innovation and the expansion of travel experiences in Alberta will facilitate the growth of our burgeoning tourism industry.”
Conference organizers and partners aim to increase inter-regional travel across the province and encourage shoulder and winter season visitation by providing engaging learning experiences to Alberta’s rural tourism operators. The workshops, keynotes and presentations offered by the conference will focus on building industry expertise in topics including marketing and product development.
“We are extremely proud to be producing the Growing Rural Tourism Conference for the 16th year. The ingenuity of ideas, brainstorming sessions and networking at the conference enables all delegates to take something back to their businesses.”
This year’s conference features the second installment of the Entrepreneurship Challenge, a competition that helps operators develop new tourism experiences. Ten finalists will present their business plans to industry experts and receive feedback. The top three winners will be announced during the conference and will receive cash prizes and one year of mentoring to assist in the development of their products.
“Our participation in the 2015 Entrepreneurship Challenge has created many new opportunities for Prairie Gardens. We are now marketing our culinary adventures to international visitors. We are excited to be creating new jobs and economic development through agri-tourism, showcasing the food we grow right here on the farm.”
The Growing Rural Tourism Conference is presented by the Camrose Regional Exhibition and is supported by a number of partners including Alberta Culture and Tourism, Travel Alberta, Tourism Camrose and the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is committed to expanding the tourism industry and maximizing the opportunities tourism creates in every region of the province. Working with industry partners the goal is to grow tourism in Alberta to a $10.3 billion industry by 2020.
Tourism in Alberta
- In 2013, there were more than 34 million visits,
- visitor spending was $8 billion, and
- there were more than 127,000 full-time equivalent tourism-related jobs.