Mayor’s corner: Opportunities for tourism in the area

Tyler Warman
Mayor of Slave Lake

Waterslide on the beach? Marked ATV and snowmobile trails? Hot air balloon rides? How about $5,000 cash?
When it comes to tourism the ideas are endless. Over the past 18 months, the Tri-Council has been working on growing tourism in the Slave Lake Region. Our goal for 2018 is to continue that momentum, and to do that we are looking for some help.
In 2018 Tri-Council took over the visitor information services at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC). This included a revamp of the space inside, adding a gift shop displaying products made by people from the region, and adding some furniture to make it a little more inviting.
This summer we will work on some of the outdoor amenities around the VIC. FireSmart was able to secure a grant that will allow us to build some interpretive trails just west of the VIC. We are adding a cupola (forestry) tower, raised off the ground with some viewing area and some signage that will talk about the region’s history.
There are countless ideas that have been thrown around to make the VIC friendlier to families, including making it more pet-friendly, adding picnic tables and benches for tourists and residents to stop in and take a break, and possibly add some playground equipment for kids to get out and stretch their legs. None of these items are guaranteed, but they are worth looking at, and it gives you an idea of what we are trying to do.
To be blunt, we want to make the VIC more of a destination rather than a quick stop.
One of the items that has been a huge success is the new regional map highlighting the region’s amenities! We have also starting crafting a regional guide for visitors in print, and this should be ready for May long weekend.
One of the biggest attractions in the Slave Lake Region is Devonshire Beach, and we are working with the province to make it a little more tourist-friendly.
To help make all these things possible we have created a tourism society. It is made up of interested residents and business people from the area who want to see this region, and this economic sector, grow.
We recently elected a board of directors and are looking to grow the society’s membership. The membership, along with the board, needs to set a vision and priorities for 2018.
The society is also working on a new website, building a social media presence and making sure we have a comprehensive list of all tourism-related businesses in the region.
We spent last summer collecting data from visitors, and the respondents agreed that what brought them to the Slave Lake Region was word of mouth from others. To ensure our message is getting out correctly, and we are reaching the most people, we will be doing some training and familiarization tours for front-line staff working in retail, hotels, and campgrounds. Essentially we want to take them around and show them what the region has to offer, so they can pass that information on to visitors and residents who come to their business.
We have a strategic planning session on Wednesday January 31, 2018 in the Town Council Chambers from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We would love to have your ideas, your thoughts, your passion to contribute to that vision, and would love to have you join us.
For more information, contact Helene, the Economic Development Officer for Tri-Council, at [email protected]
As you can see, there is lots happening.
I truly believe this an economic sector that has a lot of potential for this region. What we really need right now is help. Help to create and implement ideas.
So if your business is interested in being part of this success, seeing how growing our organization can help do the same for yours, or you are a passionate person interested in tourism, I would encourage you to come out and get involved!
Our meetings are the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers.
Come help us grow this region’s future!

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