By Justin Seward
Canadian Badlands Tourism has 58 members within a 95,000 square-kilometre region that will be impacted by a slow summer of tourism in Alberta due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s difficult for everybody right now,” said Lonna Hoggan, Canadian Badlands Tourism executive director.
“There’s no tourism happening at all, which means a lot of summer jobs, businesses, transportation, just a whole (lot) of things that aren’t happening this year.”
The tourism company is in the process of completing its Experience Guide, which is a digital information platform for the region that will be completed by June.
“(It’s) so we’re ready when people are ready to start visiting this area again,” said Hoggan.
“We have a team that works with an agency out of Calgary that spends a lot of time calling attractions and obviously we’re not listing events right now. But we’re pulling most of the information from our members and the Definition Marketing organization that are scattered throughout the Canadian Badlands.”
Hoggan said the hardest thing for the members is that nothing can be opened.
“I get multiple calls about visiting the Hoodoos and about parks and various things. It’s just quiet. I think that’s the hardest thing,” she said.
“We have transportation companies in the Badlands that are struggling. (I am) just not sure how long these companies can hang on.”
Hoggan’s response to lost tourism revenue during the pandemic, was “It’s huge.”
“We plan for the future,” she said on pulling through this pandemic.
“We stay connected with our members, other tourism organization, learn and grow. We have time to build on those relationships and plan for the future.”
Hoggan says she has not heard of any tourism permanently closing at this point.