Earlier this year, Alberta Culture Tourism and Travel Drumheller sought out to clearly identify the towns economic drivers.
The TIBRE program or The Tourism Industry Business Retention and Expansion program aimed to shed more light on who our tourists are, where they come from and how that effects local businesses; through surveys given to local businesses within the area. It is a part of an economic plan that Travel Drumheller has used to focus on nurturing and supporting the businesses within the valley.
"We invited 108 business to take part and 87 agreed," explains Julia Fielding, The Town of Drumheller's Economic Development Officer. "That's an 81% response rate and that is fantastic. We were aiming for about 70."
Alberta Culture Tourism had a variety of volunteers who administrated the TIBRE survey. Some from the Government of Alberta, local business owners, members from the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce and from the town.
Results of the TIBRE survey are as followed:
70% of the businesses surveyed had been in operation for more than 10 years.
Participating businesses had 257 full time and 146 part time employees year round.
78% of visitors were local or from Alberta, 16% were other parts of Canada, 4% are international with 2% housing the unknown demographic who visited our tourist town.
"We've got a very mature industry. We've got quite a number of people who are nearing retirement or have been in business for enough time who are thinking of their next steps," said Fielding as she talked about the 70% of business that are over a decade old. "We don't want business owners retiring and then the business just closing. So we're going to try and work to create a program to look at that."
Another revelation the TIBRE program has provided is the need for customer care training within the valley as well as employee management tools. Fielding commented that many of these ideas to enrich the valley's businesses are now able to enter an infancy stage as meetings on these matters will begin in November.
"We do have many visitors from around the world," Fielding said. "Those are the ones who have a higher spend per visit. We've got to start thinking about widening the net and how to bring people from all over."