Travel Alberta held a Tourism Town Hall in Grande Prairie today and the region was highlighted as one that has seen some growth, even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Executive Director Ken Loudon and Board Chair Jonathan Clarkson are feeling optimistic about tourism in the area moving forward.
“A lot of that starts with our rebranding, plus moving forward with our Destination Management Plan that we developed two years ago, and seeing that come to fruition is very encouraging. We’re moving forward in terms of collaboration and working with all nine of our municipal partners,” Clarkson says.
Grande Prairie Tourism covers a large area of the Peace Country, according to Loudon.
“Our border is quite extensive and we are one of the largest footprints in Northern Alberta. Our territory starts off in Grande Prairie, being the central hub, but we go right down to Grande Cache in the MD of Greenview, we swing west over to Fox Creek, capturing Fox Creek, Valleyview, and all the way up to Peace River South. It ends west of the border,” he explains.
“The best part of what we can offer is just the vast nature and outdoor activities in our region. We really want to encourage people to not only plan a trip here for those kinds of outdoor activities, but visit different places around the city, like museums, restaurants, and more. The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Wembley is a major draw.”
Clarkson feels it is important for people to understand the way people live in the region and change perceptions.
“Grande Prairie isn’t this redneck northern community and we’ve got a lot going for us. Just looking at our urban centre, various attractions around the city and our outdoor amenities are a big part of that,” he says.
Clarkson and Loudon are adamant that tourism doesn’t just come from people visiting Grande Prairie, it comes from locals as well.
“We always want to remind people about all the different activities and attractions we as a region have to offer. That involves putting together lists of top ten places to visit in every season,” Clarkson says.
“We take a lot of pride in our region and we always want to encourage people to rediscover what’s in their own backyard,” Loudon adds.
To see a full list of recommendations for spring attractions, visit the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism website.