By A. Ross
Summer and vacation is now upon us and with that, the importance of the tourism industry in our town and region is a very timely topic.
Tourism is one of the top five economic drivers, generating over $7.4 billion in revenue and creating over 114,000 jobs in Alberta.* In 2014, Calgary welcomed over 8 million travelers who contributed $1.7 billion to the local economy, which translates into a 6.3% increase over last year.**
Building infrastructure and creating events is not only for the visitor’s enjoyment it also contributes to the overall quality of life for our residents.
Besides catering to the achievement of diversification, tourism plays an important role in creating awareness for our area, for business attraction as well as business retention, which adds to the revenue of businesses.
Okotoks has positioned itself as a weekend destination. Besides the accommodation sector (hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Campgrounds), businesses such as restaurants, gas stations, spas, gift, antique and clothing stores, and business in general, are benefiting from the visitors that stop in Okotoks for a variety of events. If you are involved in any of the above business examples then you most likely cater to visitors and are part of the tourism industry.
Okotoks is part of the regional tourism initiative Cool Little Towns. The Cool Little Towns partners are Black Diamond, Bragg Creek, High River, MD of Foothills, Nanton, Okotoks and Turner Valley.
Each of these towns has something unique and a variety of experiences to offer. Cool Little Towns is promoting day trips combining their individual assets to various markets.
Okotoks has many tourism assets such as the museum, art galleries, unique dining & boutique-style shopping, performing arts and popular events. These things help to draw thousands of visitors each month and are a testament to tourism and business success in Okotoks.
*source Albert Ministry of Culture and Tourism
**source Tourism Calgary