Alberta Sweet 16 campaign offers cash for text messages

The Central Alberta Tourism Committee has launched a high-tech way to lure more people to Central Alberta during the summer.

The Central Alberta Tourism Committee has launched a high-tech way to lure more people to Central Alberta during the summer.

The Alberta Sweet 16 campaign started last year with a website that highlighted 16 weekends of summer in Central Alberta, from the May long weekend to the September long weekend.

A new feature of the campaign this year will be text-messaging. People who text SWEET to the number 23432 will have a chance to win a Central Alberta getaway, valued at $1,000, and get weekly updates on activities across Central Alberta.

The committee has also enhanced the Alberta Sweet 16 website with more video production.

Dean Schweder, chair of the Central Alberta Tourism Committee, said Alberta Sweet 16 aims to keep more Central Albertans here and draw people from Edmonton and Calgary into the area.

“Tourism is the fourth largest industry in Alberta. We want a piece of that,” Schweder said.

This year, the committee has purchased Google and Facebook ads and had 25,000 postcards made that will be placed at tourism sites around the province. Advertisements have also been placed into various print supplements around Alberta.

The committee is made up of the municipalities of Red Deer, Red Deer County, Innisfail, Lacombe, Ponoka, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler, Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin. Rimbey is a new addition.

The activities kick off this weekend with the Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo at the Wetaskiwin Ag Grounds and continue throughout the summer, featuring rodeos, local festivals, show and shines, and more. CentreFest, which takes place in downtown Red Deer on July 25 and 26, is also highlighted.

“Any time we can do a regional approach as we have with Alberta Sweet 16, it’s a win-win situation,” said Darren Kuz, executive director of Tourism Red Deer. “Red Deer gets great exposure for its events, plus we partner up with the communities that surround us and showcase their events as well.”

Visit www.albertasweet16.com.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com