Tourism is the future:
Advancing the MD of
Greenview’s Strategic Priorities
A recommendation by Jean Bourdua, Owner, Grande Cache Hotel
Good afternoon, Council. Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to be with you today.
I am Jean Bourdua, Owner of the Grande Cache Hotel & Johnny Canoe Hotel.
I am here as a spokesperson today… yet the content that I will share represents the voices of many in my community.
I will spend the next 7 minutes outlining how TOURISM is the future. And how new tourism investments can accelerate key Goals in your strategic plan.
Alberta attractions most widely recognized on global stage
Tourism is Alberta’s 4thlargest industryVisitors to Rockies (Jasper/Canmore/Banff) generated $1.09B in direct expenditures in 2012, according to 2016 Economic Impact Study (15% of Alberta tourism impact)
Rockies account for 24.8% of Alberta’s tourism export revenue
Tourism creates the most jobs per dollar of provincial funding
Province seeking growth from $10B to $21B industry by 2035
We are positioned for growth
I want you to imagine for me – close your eyes if you feel comfortable – a vibrant tourist community.
A bustling alpine village.
Streets are filled with shoppers, people seeking out a nice cup of coffee – baked goods … restaurants to enjoy a hearty breakfast, or late lunch.
- Hotels at capacity.
- A busy, local airport.
- A natural, physical wellness retreat – wrapped up by the spectacular landscape that is Grande Cache. Travellers are hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, zip lining – sightseeing, just sitting – taking in the rivers, canyons, lakes and waterfalls.
- A gondola to the top of Grande Mountain. Offering downhill & cross-country skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. A fully developed alpine village around a world-class golf course.
- Schools filled with diverse students of all ages.
- A recreation and convention centre that is the heart and hub of the community.
- A healthy range of housing types from cosy condos to acreages out by Victor Lake and Smoky River. A strong residential housing market.
The best doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, naturopaths, massage therapists and personal trainers supporting the health of our community.
- The best service industry – with everyone making a living wage.
- A diverse economy – a strong commercial and residential tax base.
- This is the 20-year vision for Grande Cache.
Today, I will share a few ideas on how we can begin to work toward this vision. These are my ideas; I know there are many others in this room and beyond. However, my intention today is simply to outline WHAT’s POSSIBLE … and why it matters.
Imagine we build suspension bridges as a major attraction.
The new skybridge in Golden is a great example of this … It’s already attracting new visitors and families seeking unique travel experiences.
This is built by Pursuit … you know them from the Skywalk in Jasper and they operate the Icefields and many, many other new amenities popping up in the most unexpected places.
Suspension bridges can also be experienced in David Thompson Country and Kananaskis country.
Zip line across the sulphur canyon, next to a suspension bridge would create an exciting tourism attraction.
- Main destinations are at or reaching capacity and seeking ways to manage visitors
- Travel Alberta is touring investors through province & has new investment framework (Cooperative Investment Fund/Product Development Fund)
- Adventure travellersseeking off beaten path experiences
- Grande Prairie/Edmonton travellers
- Already proven we can create new “indoor” experiences in Grande Cache (i.e. rec centre, virtual dinosaur experience)
- Public/Private Partnerships are gaining momentum
- Tourism Industry Association of Alberta as an ally
What it would take to achieve our vision?
GOA made unprecedented policy commitments to support tourism in 2019Let’s make it clear this needs to continue
Tourism Industry Association already advocating for new provincial tourism policy framework, led by Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism, administered by Travel AB (e.g., Crown Land policy)Let’s show our support for this
MD strategic plan has several goals and strategies around economic diversification and supporting and maintaining recreational opportunities ranked as “low priority”What does MD need to do to move these to high priority?
Also 1 or 2 more bridges that would cross the Sulphur River canyon. This would create a world class hiking loop along this incredible very steep canyon rivalling Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, Maligne Canyon in Jasper and even Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia.
This will open hiking to Wilmore Provincial Park and connect the 21 Passport to the Peaks program. At this time, there is no safe way to cross the Sulphur and Smoky Rivers. It is possible to cross the Smoky River at the Sulphur / Hells Gate with a canoe, yet a very difficult and dangerous maneuver to execute. And there is no other safe way to cross.
Bridges – and amenities aimed at family fun would benefit the already popular Canadian Death Race to cross the Smoky and Sulphur River, enhancing the race experience for everyone.
Bridges are an attraction that can help to sustain our tourism Industry for many generations to come.
Attracting both local and international markets.
This is Slate Mountain in Wales, in the U.K.
This visitor attraction in the historic mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog is developing new trails and creating jobs.
In 2018, 250,000 mountain bikers visited Slate Mountain in Wales, UK.
In 2019 the park collaborated with the Wales Co-Operative Centre to be part of its Social Summer 2019 campaign, which encouraged families across Wales to make more use of the wide-range of family-friendly social enterprises in the area.
The area was once home to two of the largest slate mine quarries in the world, when they closed in the 60s the economy faltered. Now with their World Heritage Status the slate quarries are part of the Welsh Tourist economy. People flock here to hike, zipline and swim in the quarry holes – just like in Canmore, Alberta.
This is an incredible global example of economic diversification as this site is helping the community thrive.
We know Alberta destinations are a draw for both regional and international travellers… yet the main destinations are reaching capacity. You only have to look as far as Banff to know they are about to release a new vision for tourism that is more focused on sustainability than growth. If you’ve tried to get to Lake Louise lately, you know they often close the hamlet to guests on a busy summer day as they reach capacity early. If you’re not at Morraine Lake at 6 a.m., you will not find a parking spot.
Travel Alberta understands the need for new tourism attractions and amenities. Travel Alberta is touring investors through province and has a new investment framework with funds available for us to leverage.
Adventure travellers are seeking off beaten path experiences. This is our differentiator.
Also…we are in an important travel corridor to attract guests travelling south and west…from Grande Prairie and Edmonton. Who else can we entice to come to Grande Cache? Travel Alberta calls the most high value traveller the “Curious Adventurers” – they want a different perspective on the world and are inspired by traveling to new places and learning about a destination through its landscapes.
In Grande Cache, we have incredible outdoor experiences and we have proven we can create new indoor experiences… we just need to imagine them; and create a plan for investment.
Another important consideration right now is the emergence of public/private partnerships in Tourism. Look no farther than the Skywalk on the Icefields parkway. An attraction built by Pursuit/with the support of Parks Canada.
And finally, I just mentioned a new landmark study conducted by TIAA. Not only does it emphasize the economic impact and future potential of tourism, but it outlines several recommendations for stronger provincial tourism policies. I see TIAA as an important ally – they already have a strong advocacy plan and strong relationships with the provincial government.
Let’s make it clear this needs to continue
Tourism Industry Association of Alberta already advocating for new provincial tourism policy framework, led by Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism, administered by Travel AB (e.g., Crown Land policy)
Let’s show our support for this
MD strategic plan has several goals and strategies around economic diversification and supporting and maintaining recreational opportunities ranked as “low priority”
What does the MD need to do, to move those to a high priority?
Tourism is the future
We have the passion, place and people
Become a champion –through advocacy –to accelerate the development of new tourism assets and a strong tourism economy in Grande Cache