For the first time ever, Tourism Red Deer will study the economic impact of tourism in the city and surrounding area.
Tourism Red Deer is working with the province’s Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports ministry on developing the criteria for the study and once that is done, a call for proposals will be issued.
The chosen consultant will use data from various sources, including the province and Statistics Canada.
Tourism Red Deer executive-director Darren Kuz said Travel Alberta and Tourism, Parks, Culture generally provide economic impact information for Calgary, Edmonton and the Rockies.
“But everybody else is divided into these big geographical areas and it’s so hard to really pinpoint the dollar values that the tourism industry means to us in the city of Red Deer,” Kuz said. “As far as I’m aware, the City of Red Deer doesn’t have an economic impact study regarding tourism.”
Kuz said the study is needed because so many groups, from the private and public sector, are seeking this kind of information.
He expects the tourism numbers will be substantial.
“We know from our meeting and convention industry that we are a major player in the province,” Kuz said. “And with our increased size of attractions, I think we’ll be quite impressed with the dollar value that the tourism industry means to us in Red Deer.”
He hopes the study will also indicate how many jobs are directly tied to the tourism industry.
The study could be done as early as May or June.
The City of Red Deer gave Tourism Red Deer one-time funding a couple of years ago so the project could be done. It’s anticipated the cost will run around $25,000, Kuz said.
In 2006, Sylvan Lake conducted a tourism economic impact study which estimated that visitors annually spent just under $33.5 million in the resort community. Visitor spending also created $13.8 million annually in labour income and supported 425 person years of employment.