By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Highway 3 was recently selected to be part of Destination Canada’s Tourism Corridor Strategy Program.
“Highway 3 is a key interprovincial corridor linking the large urban hubs of southern Alberta and British Columbia’s lower mainland, we are delighted to be working with our partners in BC and Alberta to develop the corridor strategy for this region,” Gracen Chungath, Destination Canada’s Senior Vice-President of Destination Development, said. “With the Tourism Corridor Strategy Program, we are helping to accelerate destination development of multiple corridors across Canada, all focused on cross-jurisdictional journeys which are often the most difficult to develop.”
The corridor, Chungath says, will integrate the existing key strategies and themes in Alberta and British Columbia to produce a collection of potential investment opportunities, as well as infrastructure enhancements to grow demand and manage visitation in the long-term.
“In partnership with a variety of stakeholders across provincial and territorial boundaries, this collaborative project will benefit not only the communities and destinations involved but will also bolster Canada’s competitiveness by giving visitors more reasons to travel to new regions across Canada,” Chungath said.
Chungath says that three corridors are actually part of Destination Canada’s pilot program in 2023: Atlantic Canada’s UNESCO sites, Northern Canada’s Indigenous Tourism Lodges Network, and Alberta and BC’s Prairies to Pacific Sustainable Tourism Journey. Destination Canada, Chungath says, is a federal Crown corporation, an agency of the federal government, with the mandate to sustain a vibrant and profitable Canadian tourism industry.
“We help do this through marketing Canada internationally in nine key markets; sharing insights and analytics with industry; supporting destination development and stewardship; and working in very close collaboration with tourism partners in provinces and territories and cities across the country,” Chungath said.
Chungath says that applications to be part of the pilot program opened to the tourism industry in February 2023. Following a comprehensive review process, Destination Canada’s evaluation team selected corridors that aligned with their priority criteria and demonstrated business viability and showed where impact can be enhanced and maximized.
“Our new pilot program will help to fill the existing gap in cross-boundary, international destination development and ultimately helps build a more resilient tourism industry that contributes to the wealth and wellbeing of Canadians, while also making Canada a more competitive destination, aligning our offering with the expectations of today’s high value guests,” Chungath said.
Chungath emphasizes that together, the three selected corridors touch on a variety of geographic locations, rural, remote, and urban settings, and themes such as sustainability, outdoor adventure, culture and Indigenous products and experiences.
“As a country, we aim to offer legendary experiences for our guests, end-to-end, but for our tourism sector to grow and truly thrive, we must equally consider the aspirations of communities as hosts. We truly believe that tourism contributes to the wealth and wellbeing of Canadians. Our new corridor pilot project will ultimately benefit the local communities in several ways including cultivating new economic prosperity, attracting investments and bringing awareness to development opportunities in the region, focusing on community-led destination development to build socio-cultural vibrancy and environmental sustainability, empowering destinations to intentionally plan and consider their participation in the tourism industry, and increasing authentic and transformational experiences that are distinctly Canadian and valued and explored by residents and visitors.”