Visiting Central Alberta? Accommodation study aims to find what region can do better

A piece of a larger puzzle, the Central Alberta Tourism Alliance Accommodation Study aims to find ways to improve area lodgings.

Liz Taylor, executive director of Visit Red Deer, said the planned study will cover the area stretching from Olds and Mountain view County to Ponoka and from Clearwater County to east of Red Deer.

A collective of tourism agencies throughout the region wants to find out more about “fixed and non-fixed roof accommodations.”

Fixed include hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts and anything with a permanent roof. Non-fixed includes campgrounds and areas for people to set up trailers, RVs and tents.

Last Wednesday, Central Alberta Tourism received $50,000 from the provincial government through the Community and Regional Economic Support program. The study will cost $100,000 with the CARES program supporting half and Central Alberta municipalities picking up the other $50,000 tab.

“We really need to get a grasp on where the opportunities,” said Taylor. “It will take a look at all the needs.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean new properties, it might be enhancing existing facilities. It will take a look at the needs, it will take a look at the inventory and a look at the opportunities.”

It’s all part of a long term goal to attract people to the area and meet their needs.

Taylor estimates it will take about a year to complete the study. They already have their objectives.

Last year the Central Alberta Destination Management plan was completed and Taylor said they are working at some of its objectives. It was a development strategy for Central Alberta and now the group has to dig deeper.

Taylor said they already have they’re already looking to the next study, which will take an in-depth look at the region’s trails.

“How do we take all the trail infrastructure and bring it together,” said Taylor. “How do you connect them and what kind of infrastructure needs to be built around them such as trailheads, signage and bathroom facilities.”

Once the study is completed, it will be up to the individual communities to implement recommendations.

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