Tourism initiatives earn provincial awards

A pair of Central Alberta tourism initiatives have captured provincial recognition. The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Online Campaign and Central Alberta Country Drive were each earned an Alberta Tourism Award during the 2012 Alto Awards Gala in Calgary on Monday night.

A pair of Central Alberta tourism initiatives have captured provincial recognition.

The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Online Campaign and Central Alberta Country Drive were each earned an Alberta Tourism Award during the 2012 Alto Awards Gala in Calgary on Monday night.

The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Online Campaign, which was organized by Tourism Red Deer, received the Alto Award for Marketing Excellence (up to $10,000). That award recognizes marketing initiatives that encourage travel to and within Alberta.

The Scotties Online Campaign sought to promote local hotels, restaurants, attractions and events during the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which was held in Red Deer. Tourism Red Deer arranged for information cards to be handed out to curling spectators, with these containing a QR code that led users to a mobile website, said Liz Taylor, executive director of Tourism Red Deer. That site featured packages, information on events and content related to the tournament, and was monitored and updated regularly.

It’s estimated that $12 million in economic spinoffs were generated by the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Tourism Red Deer was also behind Central Alberta Country Drive, as was Red Deer County. That initiative received the Alto Award for Marketing Excellence (between $10,000 and $25,000).

Central Alberta Country Drive involved rural tourism operators in and around Red Deer County who developed a website, social media profiles and a marketing strategy with a country drive theme. That boosted website traffic and attracted more visitors to area events and attractions, said Myrna Pearman, who chaired the Country Drive group.

The project included social media workshops for operators, said Pearman, and also resulted in a new Country Drive website, Facebook page, Twitter profile and brochure.

Alto Awards were presented in eight other categories. The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Online Campaign faced other finalists in the form of the Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta from the City of Medicine Hat, and the Town of Devon’s Ride Devon Website. Central Alberta Country Drive topped a field that included The Studio Group Marketing & Communications’ Canmore Go Beyond campaign.

Finalists and winners were chosen by 24 industry volunteer judges.

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