Visitors will be able to get tourism information in more innovative and easier ways – from trikes to high tech.
“Visitor services provide a vital link between travellers and the incredible range of attraction and destination options the province has to offer. By enhancing technologies and techniques to reach visitors in new and innovative ways, we are empowering our tourism industry partners and helping ensure people have a great Alberta experience.”
The Innovation Fund provided grants of up to $7,000 to individual organizations and up to $16,000 to those that partner on improvements. Projects receiving funding must be completed by March 31, 2018.
The announcement of the grant recipients is being made as part of Tourism Week (May 28 to June 3), which promotes the importance of tourism in Alberta and its potential to help create jobs and diversify the economy.
The Visitor Services Innovation Fund grant recipients are:
- Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau: Mobile counselling to be more accessible to visitors and provide convenient services, and social media training for trip planning.
- Battle River Historical Society: Roaming counsellors at community events to increase presence of visitor services offerings.
- Community Futures Alberta Southwest: Mobile counselling at key high-traffic areas and community awareness/ambassador program in the Cardston area.
- Chinook Country Tourist Association/Tourism Medicine Hat Partnership: Digital kiosk located at high-traffic areas to engage visitors and mobile Visitor Information Centre (VIC) with tricycle and pop-up tent.
- Claresholm and District Chamber of Commerce: Mobile kiosk at community events and high-activity locations to provide travel information to visitors outside of the VIC.
- Crowsnest Pass Tourism and Development: Mobile VIC (pop-up tent with signage) to increase awareness of visitor services at community events.
- Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce: Mobile VIC (signage and staffing) at the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s parking lot to reach and engage visitors outside the VIC.
- Fort McMurray Tourism: Mobile tricycle in various areas across Fort McMurray to engage and provide travel information to visitors.
- High Prairie and District Museum and Visitor Information Centre (High Prairie and District Museum and Historical Society): Weatherproof board/map and brochure holders on the exterior of the VIC that provide free accessible travel information to visitors.
- Lacombe Regional Tourism and Marketing Association: Mobile booth that provides visitor information off-site at community events and public gatherings in the greater Lacombe region.
- Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce: Mobile technology (digital kiosk and/or Ipad) used by staff throughout the community to provide travel information.
- Leduc/Devon Oilfield Historical Society: Touch screen kiosk one outside VIC to improve visitor information services delivery.
- Millet and District Museum and Visitor Information Centre (Millet and District Historical Society): Mobile kiosk to engage visitors onsite at local events and attractions within Millet and surrounding area.
- Nanton and District Chamber of Commerce: Outdoor map and brochure holders outside VIC to provide visitor information after hours, familiarization tour to encourage more community engagement, and mobile VIC at community events to improve visitor experience outside the VIC.
- Red Deer Visitor and Convention Bureau (Tourism Red Deer): Familiarization experience sessions to train frontline staff about offerings in the region, and install map outside VIC to provide regional information to visitors.
- Spruce Grove and District Chamber of Commerce: Mobile VIC (pop-up tent) to grow community engagement at events and give residents and visitors things to see and do in the community.
- Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development: Electronic touch screen device to provide information at events, attractions and during hours the VIC is closed.
- Stony Plain and District Chamber of Commerce/Parkland County Partnership: Mobile kiosk to engage visitors and residents in the Town of Stony Plain and Parkland County to increase awareness of local services, advance tourism and foster pride in the region.
The Innovation Fund was created following the release of a new ministry report, A New Visitor Services Model for Alberta. Developed with input from tourism industry stakeholders, the report identifies how upgrading online tools, developing a social media presence or designing a mobile kiosk can reach more visitors and influence their stays in the province. The report also includes research on best practices for influencing travel behaviours and visitor spending.