Rene Rondeau, the new executive director for Tourism Red Deer, encourages Red Deerians to explore their own backyard this summer amid the ongoing pandemic. Contributed photo

Explore your backyard this summer and help local businesses: Tourism Red Deer

Discover local restaurants, breweries, trails and museums

Venture out in your own backyard.

That’s the message Tourism Red Deer is sending to central Albertans: explore local trails, museums, restaurants, farmers’ markets and breweries this summer.

The inside out approach is going to help the local tourism industry, which has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, said executive director Rene Rondeau.

“We want central Albertans to look at their summer plans and say ‘hey, let’s plan some trips here in our own backyard,’ and to explore Red Deer’s backyard, because there is a lot to do here, and we just sometimes forget.”

The approach should also help keep COVID-19 numbers low for the region, Rondeau said. So far, the central zone has had the lowest confirmed number of cases in the province.

The agency has three key areas to focus on: outdoor and recreation; food tourism and cultural; and heritage and arts tourism.

Once central Albertans have discovered the hidden gems in their backyard, they will become ambassadors, or tour guides, for the region when it’s time for people to visit from other parts of the province – say, friends or family – or from other parts of Canada or the world.

“We want to keep it local first,” said Rondeau. “We want people from other parts of the province here, but we want to do that when the time is right.”

Tourism Red Deer is also planning to create staycation packages by partnering with hoteliers and other agencies.

The packages will be useful for people who live an hour or so away, who want to come to the city for a round of golf and stay overnight. The package will provide them with an experience they can enjoy the next day, said Rondeau.

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