Tourism touted

People living in Edmonton and Calgary are the big fish that local tourism operators hope to lure with a brand new tourist guide, say leaders at Tourism Red Deer.

Erin Gobolos

Erin Gobolos

People living in Edmonton and Calgary are the big fish that local tourism operators hope to lure with a brand new tourist guide, say leaders at Tourism Red Deer.

On Tuesday, chair Erin Gobolos announced the launch of the 2010 Red Deer Visitors’ Guide, which includes pullout maps of the region and the trail system within the City of Red Deer.

Tourism Red Deer has published 45,000 guides, with these to be distributed within the province and at key locations around the world, said Gobolos.

Alongside its regular content, the 2010 edition features profiles of two attractions that will celebrate their 40th anniversary this year: Central Alberta Theatre and the Red Deer Public Market.

An interactive version is available online, allowing people to search key information and offering links to advertisers’ websites.

Darren Kuz, executive director of Tourism Red Deer, said tourism did drop off a bit in 2009.

But he is optimistic for the future, as more people look to take their holidays closer to home.

“Tourism is huge for Central Alberta. Hopefully, in the next three to four months, we’ll have a report that we can release to everybody showing the exact dollar value. It’s in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Red Deer gets most of its tourism business from people who have travelled from within Alberta, especially from the two biggest cities, he said.

“It’s showing those people that we are just not a stop on the highway. We have great events and attractions that are located here and they should come out and explore.”

While there is no major attraction within the city, Red Deer and its surrounding areas have a multitude of sites and events to draw visitors to the area, he said.

While designed to draw people into the region, the guide is also useful for people who, like him, have lived in the region for much or all of their lives, said Kuz.

“I read that visitor guide every year and I learn something new.”

The guide is a revenue tool that helps fund Tourism Red Deer’s marketing activities, said Kuz.

He would not specify the level of income the guide brings, stating that half of Tourism Red Deer’s income comes through service agreements with the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County.

The remainder comes through membership fees and advertising.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com