This past April marked the beginning of the TIBRE program survey.

The TIBRE program or Tourism Industry Business Retention and Expansion program aims to bring an increase in tourist numbers to our town.

In April, representatives from different businesses in the Drumheller area went business to business to get owners, franchisers and operators to fill out  a survey.

87 tourism businesses took part in the survey, said Marketing Consultant for Travel Drumheller, Alyssa Berry.

"Drumheller was the pilot project for this project," she explained. "We conducted surveys with 87 businesses in the Drumheller Valley this past spring. We asked a lot of questions about their business and staffing, profits and growth and all those sorts of things to get a better sense of where the small business tourism sector is sitting in Drumheller.

Some interesting facts came about because of this survey:

- 55% of participating businesses have been under the same ownership for 10 or more years.

- Participants attributed 74% of their business to travel and tourism.

- 85% of businesses expect the number of visitors and sales to increase or stay the same in 2018.

-All of the businesses that participated in this project would be considered small business (having fewer than 100 paid employees) and about half of them would be considered micro-businesses (1-4 paid employees) based on Industry Canada definitions. 54.3% of business establishments in Canada are Micro Businesses.

-These businesses employ 308 people year-round (404 in summer) and spend an estimated $15.7 million annually on payroll.

"Three quarters of businesses consider themselves travel tourism businesses," Berry explained."75% of businesses that participated (in the survey) attributed their business to travel tourism."

One of the statistics presented says that employment in tourism businesses goes up in the summer by roughly 100 people. Year round, Drumheller sees around 308 tourism employees.

"308 people year round is a significant amount of people in a community like Drumheller," Berry added.

The group behind the TIBRE program are currently working on a comprehensive final report nearing the end of summer, after which, findings will be presented to Town Council.

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