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Tourism Canmore Kananaskis to launch one-year market initiative to help COVID-19 impacted businesses

A one-year marketing program is being offered by Tourism Canmore Kananaskis to help businesses hard-hit by the pandemic.
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Tourism Canmore Kananaskis interim CEO Rachel Ludwig on Tuesday (March 9). EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – A one-year marketing program is being offered by Tourism Canmore Kananaskis to help businesses hard-hit by the pandemic.

The local tourism organization will give Canmore and Kananaskis tourism-based businesses the ability to receive free basic marketing services for 2021.

“Tourism Canmore Kananaskis works hard to ensure the businesses in our region continue to prosper year-round – safely and sustainably,” Rachel Ludwig, the interim CEO of Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, said. “When one of us prospers, we all prosper.”

The program is aiming to help businesses through promotions, digital strategies and marketing campaigns to garner interest.

The organization also started at the beginning of the pandemic the Hope for Hospitality initiative to provide gift cards to local tourism and hospitality frontline workers who were laid off due to COVID-19.

According to its website, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis had more than 75,000 referrals to partner websites in 2020. Its social media also has more than 100,000 followers, had 31.2 million impressions and 812,000 engagements last year.

In a Travel Alberta industry survey, it was found 29 per cent of tourism businesses could possibly face closure. There were also 48 per cent of respondents who said they were unable to pay for marketing and advertising.

The survey was completed between April 21 and May 3 and had 308 participants, with 21 per cent coming from the Canadian Rockies.

It also found 35 per cent of businesses surveyed had to temporarily close and 77 per cent had applied for one or more federal or provincial relief programs.

“Those who have applied for relief programs indicated that they have been effective in helping support their business needs,” the survey’s executive summary explained. “Several respondents also noted that they need continued assistance through funding and/or grants to help their businesses operate.”

Another survey will be completed in April to get additional understanding of the COVID-19 impacts on tourism-based businesses.

In the region, tourism plays a pivotal role in the local economy. The economic effects of COVID-19 are still real and likely to not completely rebound until vaccinations are given to large numbers of the Canadian and international communities.

Ludwig said TCK helps support more than 7,000 jobs and attracts an average of 11,000 daily visitors who contribute an estimated $500 million to the local economy.

“Becoming a member of Tourism Canmore Kananaskis has helped us connect with our target market while allowing us to focus on making good spirits,” Keith Robinson, the distiller and co-founder of Wild Life Distillery, said. “Collective marketing has a greater reach.”

The key principals of Tourism Canmore Kananaskis is to grow the organization, have sustainable funding and be transparent.

The initiative is another aim to help Canmore and Kananaskis recover from the pandemic.

“It’s no secret that tourism has become a vital economic driver in Canmore and Kananaskis. … As a partner, the investment in Tourism Canmore Kananaskis contributes to a higher marketing spend for our destination, building a stronger economy for everyone.”

People can visit explorecanmore.ca/industry for more information.