Travel Drumheller has some big plans for 2017, but they're going to need some more help to make it happen.
Administrator Alyssa Berry appeared before Drumheller Town Council on November 21 to outline what the destination marketing organization has been up to this year and what will be required to operate for the coming tourist season.
"We want to really engage people in their community," she told 99.5 Drum FM. "What tourism is and what it means to a community, both economically and socially, and create a bit of an education around why tourism is an important component in an economic downturn such as we are in now."
Among their plans are a new, full magazine size visitor guide, including a digital version.
"We're also looking at putting together some more professional development opportunities," she noted. "Things like customer service training for the summer staff and making sure that they're all saying the same things and having a consistent messaging and putting the best face forward for the community."
While a mandatory room tax to fund local tourism marketing fell flat after a backlash from operators, Berry said they have had more success with a voluntary levy.
"This year Travel Drumheller has implemented the voluntary Destination Marketing Fund, which is directed at local hoteliers. It's a voluntary program where they contribute a percentage of room tax to Travel Drumheller to support marketing initiatives."
Berry told town council they expect to collect $90,000 from the room tax in 2017, which should be enough to pay for marketing the Drumheller Valley outside of the area, but she cautioned they could still use help with other expenses and asked for a municipal contribution of $40,000 for the coming year.
Figures from Travel Alberta say the province experienced 34.7 million visits last year, with total spending of $8.3 billion.