By Jamie Rieger
Southeast Alberta has the right stuff for attracting urban and international travelers, according to the executive director of Canadian Badlands, who provided Bow Island town council with a presentation of the organization at their Jan. 11 regular board meeting.
Canadian Badlands is the largest municipal partnership in the country, involving more than 60 municipal stakeholders from throughout southeast Alberta.
“The coming together of all these communities in the region gives us strength. The region has so many attractive features and it is on the Alberta Tourism radar, and internationally,” said executive director, Brad Tucker. “There is Calgary and the Rocky Mountains, but the travel industry is looking at what else we can do here.”
The not-for-profit organization is envisioned with turning southeast Alberta into a “major iconic tourist destination” and has a seven-step program in place to assist municipalities and other stakeholders with facilitating ommunication and collaboration, promoting and supporting tourism development, attract investment, and marketing on regional and large scales.
At the same time, Canadian Badlands indicates in a written document, that they are also committed to “helping preserve rural values, western and First Nations culture, promote sustainable tourism development, and protect significant and cultural resources”.
“We have Cowboy Culture, and place like Red Rock Coulee and Writing-on-Stone; places that have a different tone than the Canadian Rockies. It is rustic, authentic, and has amazing food,” said Tucker. “That authentic travel is attractive to urban and international travelers and we want to keep growing the region. Places like Drumheller get all the attention. We need to draw the travelers here.”